Though the year may be young, the economy is doing pretty well compared to recent years. The private sector has seen 58 consecutive months of uninterrupted job growth, and the nation's unemployment rate is at 5.6 percent, according to the Labor Department, a near seven-year low.
While many small business owners are encouraged by what they've seen, they're not optimistic the government will be able to do much for them to make economic conditions even better, according to the results of a recent survey, suggesting that a sound financial plan is advisable.
Approximately two-thirds of small business owners say they have a positive economic outlook for 2015, based on a new poll performed by cloud services provider Endurance International Group. Despite this, nearly 7 in 10 remains skeptical that the current Congress will be able to address issues that are important to small business owners over the next 12 months.
75 percent believe government should help small businesses perform
Small business owners' pessimism may stem from what Congressional leaders have done thus far – or lack thereof. The poll found that 87 percent believed the last session of Congress was ineffective in tackling concerns of interest to small business owners. Close to three-quarters said that in the ideal world, Congress ought to play a more prominent role in helping companies succeed, seeing as how small businesses make up the vast majority of companies that engage in commerce.
"U.S. small businesses are the backbone of our economy and ensuring their continued growth and success is critically important to driving our country forward," said Hari Ravichandran. "Our survey shows that while small businesses remain upbeat about the future, concerns about tax code reform and bank financing remain top of mind."
In order of importance, respondents ranked taxes, bank financing availability, skilled workers and health care coverage as being the most vital to small businesses, the survey found.
Small company managers around the country closed out 2014 on a positive note. In the National Federation of Independent Businesses Small Business Optimism Survey, the measure rose 2.3 points to 100.4 in December, the highest score since October 2006.
Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist, said that the rise in sentiment was particularly stark comparing December to November.
"The Index showed strength in November but most of the gains were confined to just two categories," he said. "The December Index shows much broader strength led by a significant increase in the number of owners who expect higher sales. This could be a breakout for small business."
He added that if they continue to feel this way, 2015 could be a banner year.