Allstate/USA TODAY Small Business Barometer Reveals Resilience and Optimism in Rapidly Changing Environment


A national survey of small business owners conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on behalf of Allstate Insurance* offers a unique look into the pressures, challenges, and benefits of owning a small business in America today. The survey finds that small business owners are upbeat about the improving economy and a majority say now is the best time ever to own a small business.
 
Even in the improving economy, small business owners face challenges in finding and keeping their clients, responding to rising costs, and dealing with regulation; in addition, they face a rapidly changing business environment that requires constant innovation.  To deal with these challenges, small business owners make significant personal and professional sacrifices: a large segment have recently changed their business practices to keep up with new technologies, new market trends, and new competition, while over 40 percent have cut their own pay for the well-being of the business. It’s no wonder 3 in 4 business owners report experiencing some or a great deal of stress.

In the face of such challenges, small business owners demonstrate remarkable resilience. A majority say their business is doing well and earning higher revenue than in past years; moreover, 64 percent expect to do better next year than this one. Nearly 9 in 10 say the benefits of owning a small business outweigh the challenges. But it’s not the pay that motivates them: it’s the freedom of being their own boss and having more flexible hours.
 
Women and minority small business owners are more hopeful about the future of their businesses and more optimistic about growth than others, despite less access to capital and added stress juggling work and family demands. Notably, over 70 percent of women and minority small business owners say their business will do well next year, compared to just 64 percent overall.
 
GQR’s survey also contributed to a proprietary Barometer score measuring the small business climate in the United States and in 25 of its largest markets. Featured on Allstate’s website, this Barometer was created from eight indicators that influence the business climate and were scored on a 0-100 scale: Capital, Commodities, Customers, Innovation, Technology, Labor, Optimism, and Regulation.
 
See the Barometer readings for all eight indicators nationally and in each market, and read more about the study here.
 
Additional reporting on the survey and Barometer by the USA Today:

*GQR Research conducted an online survey of small business owners on behalf of Allstate from November 4th-22nd, 2015. Survey respondents included small business owners nationally, ages 18-75, each being owners or part-owners of a business or franchise with annual revenues greater than $25,000 and between 1 and 100 employees. This survey included a representative national sample of 500 small business owners and oversamples of small business owners in 25 media markets across the country for a total of 2,640 completed interviews.