Pop quiz! According to the latest Allstate / USA TODAY Small Business Barometer . . .
1. On a scale of 1-100, how optimistic are America’s small business owners?
2. What percentage of owners surveyed said, “there has never been a better time to own a business”?
The answer to both questions is “A” and that means that yes, according to the Allstate Small Business Barometer, optimism among America’s small business owners is surging. Built from a unique proprietary data model, the Barometer combines the findings from a custom in-depth survey and existing federal data to provide unique insights into small business sentiment.
The findings in this second annual survey are really quite interesting:
Optimism is way up
While one must generally be both optimistic and confident to start and grow a small business, survey results show that that natural entrepreneurial optimism is booming right now. Almost 90% of the respondents said that the benefits of owning a business outweigh the challenges. And, not only that, but this optimism is especially high among women (85) and minorities (92).
Take, for example, Sarah Spencer, one of the small business owners highlighted in the survey. Spencer was able to turn her artistic talent into a business last year and is now among that 80% of all businesses who are solopreneurs. She launched her company, 26 Letters, from her Airstream trailer in Phoenix, and maybe that is not surprising either. This year’s Barometer ranks Phoenix as excellent on optimism, with a score of 90 out of a possible 100 points.
Phoenix is not alone, or amazingly, even at the very top of the list of optimistic small business cities. Nine cities got a perfect score of 100 out of 100 in that category in the survey: Cleveland, Houston, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, Portland, St. Louis, Tampa, and D.C.
Small business owners are innovators
While being innovative makes sense for small business owners, the Allstate Barometer indicated just how prevalent innovation really is to the entrepreneurial mindset:
- 52% of small business owners said that they tried a new business practice in the past three months
- 38% said that they have tried new technologies
A good example is Veronica Hood, owner of Southfield, Michigan, clothing and accessories store Roloni’s Boutique. Hood, a former pharmacy technician, started her business after she realized that she could make money selling the costume jewelry she had previously been making only as a hobby. Is she innovative? You bet. “I do whatever it takes to change or tweak things when the going gets tough.”
The most innovative cities were Miami, Cleveland, Portland, Tampa, Orlando, and Sacramento.
Small business owners are in it for more than the money
If you know a small business owner (and you likely do as half of all Americans work in/with/for a small business), you know that they are a passionate lot; they love their businesses.
This too was borne out in the Allstate Barometer. The owners surveyed said that there are a lot of things they value, including:
- “Being my own boss”
- “Having a sense of freedom”
- “Following my passion” and
- “Creating something on my own.”
Just one-in-five point of those surveyed said that money was one of their key motivators. 35% liked the flexible work hours their business afforded them and many got satisfaction from creating something all their own (22%) or following their passion (22%).
So yes, all in all, the Allstate/USA TODAY Small Business Barometer indicates that this really is a great time to be a small business owner.