Small-business optimism is on the rise, and owners may be getting ready to start hiring, according to a new study from The Alternative Board. More U.S. business owners were more confident in their local economies, expected their sales to increase and felt it was easier to retain their current employees. Very few expected a decrease in profits, and many expected to hire more employees.
“Today’s small-business owners, I find, are for more geared for the possibilities of the future than the obstacles of the past or even of the present,” said Jason Zickerman, TAB’s President and CEO. “With a very entrepreneurial spirit, they seem empowered to work on their businesses while remaining prepared for what’s to come. They are exhibiting more confidence and control, and it’s great to see again.”
The study found 43 percent of small-business owners were planning to increase hiring in the next 12 months. While managers found employee retention relatively easy, hiring new staff members was slightly more difficult. Many owners reported their biggest hiring challenge was finding candidates with the necessary experience in the industry. Respondents said employee referrals were the best source of new hires, followed by job postings, LinkedIn and their company websites.
Positive small-business outlook?
Although several other reports have indicated small-business optimism is on the rise, some economists are not convinced companies are in a hurry to hire new employees, BusinessNewsDaily reported. Small-business confidence reached its highest level in the past 12 months, but other reports suggest owners are not hiring at a quick pace.
Small-business employers have remained conservative in their hiring plans. Few owners were taking intentional risks with their enterprises. Many small-business managers felt they were successful without increasing employment. They were concerned with changes ahead, like economic growth and taxes, so hiring took a backseat. Some business owners were taking on extra work and responsibilities themselves rather than hiring new staff.
The state of the economy presented a major concern for American small-business owners. They tended to be more confident in their local economies than the national economy. The TAB research indicated that small business reluctance could be turning around in the near future. With the majority of entrepreneurs expecting an increase in profits, hiring may eventually catch up. Small-business owners have remained optimistic, despite economic difficulties.