Small business owners, a driving force behind our economy’s potential and ongoing recovery, need all the available resources to help their companies grow. With the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) claiming we’re practically through the rut, small business owners tend to disagree.
Because of the continued depression of small businesses in the United States, the recovery has definitely been significantly halted. As the recession deepened in 2009, 60 percent of job losses were from small businesses, and though to date they may have shown small signs of improvement they have certainly not recovered.
Most feel the recession
According to a survey performed by U.S. Bank, the number of small business owners that feel our economy is currently in a recession has decreased since 2010. However, these numbers hardly bolster support as they only dropped from 89 percent to 78 percent. This relates to the fact that the majority of owners still do not expect revenues to increase year over year and ten percent fear that revenues will actually decline.
The low expectations and gloomy revenue projections are somewhat the result of market uncertainty and regulations that hang over the small business owners’ heads.
The year of 2009 saw the slowest growth of new businesses in more than a decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and without small business growth, employment cannot expect to pick up either.
Surprisingly, the banks are not the primary target to blame, as small business’ perception of them showed improvement since last year, but only 43 percent view their banks as helpful to their business in 2010.
A supreme lack of confidence
Other factors definitely contribute to small business owners’ lack of confidence. According to CNNMoney, business owners who accept credit cards as a form of payment, which is basically any profitable business, are overly perplexed by the bills they receive from their merchant account providers who process the payments and charge for this service.
These third-party processors act as liaisons between the businesses and the credit card giants and will usually provide merchants with payment terminals in exchange for receiving a small cut of every dollar. A monthly invoice then details their transactions.
The problem is that these invoices can be around seven to ten pages long of a miniscule code of numbers that takes into account every credit card’s respective fee structure and brand. This means there can be over 400 combinations of charges on the report, most of which are not comprehensible to the average business owner with no time to review these pages. The complexity of these prodigious statements provides ample opportunity for third-party processors to add on hidden fees.
North of the border, the TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey reported that things are looking up for small businesses with 66 percent of owners saying they are “very happy,” due mainly to their sense of personal achievement and ability to personally help their customers. According to the survey, an external factor could be the rising strength of the Canadian dollar. Although a stronger dollar weakens exports, it provides better buying power in the US, enabling owners to expand. The weakening American dollar does the opposite over here.
Outside regulations and government reforms are largely responsible for the present and future of small businesses, which largely determines our economy’s future growth. Restoring the entrepreneurial drive by alleviating unnecessary regulation and heavy taxes will heal the plight of small businesses and reinstate confidence in the marketplace.