So the big decision has been made in the US, and congratulations to Barack Obama on four more years as President of the United States of America.
With this and all things American being in the news, we wanted to take a look at the latest results of the Index from the US; along with how things have changed in the time we have been running the Sage Business Index.
Looking more at the role of government, in the Index, 53% believe the support they receive from the government is not sufficient, however when looked at globally this is the joint lowest with Canada, suggesting Americans are among the most supported, supported by 23%, the 3rd highest globally saying they felt the support they received was sufficient. One example of work done in the first term is the Small Business Jobs Act, promising tax cuts for small business and ease of getting federally guaranteed loans, but are small and medium sized businesses feeling the benefit of work such as this?
In part yes, when we examine the confidence to which US businesses feel their business will grow in the next six months, looking across the last four set of results of the Business Index, in February 2011 54% of respondents felt more confident, increasing to a high of 61% earlier this year in March 2012, slightly dropping 60% in the most recent results, illustrating confidence has increased in business owners.
However when asked if this confidence of their own businesses also transferred to the economy in general, the picture is a little different:
- At its height, in February 2011 51% felt the economy was improving
- In September 2011, confidence dropped as only 42% of customers and small business owners felt economy was on the up
- Improvement was seen earlier this year however, bouncing back to 49% confidence in March 2012
- Finally, this year’s results saw confidence level out at 48%
With inflation, rising costs of energy, fuel and raw materials still one of the primary concerns, and 53% responding the major issue for them is reducing the national debt, it seems that the outlook is bleak however when we dig a little deeper into the results revenue has increased or remained steady for 72% of business an increase of five points from 6 months ago, and 83% are making positive changes in their businesses to cope with the changes in the economy.
President Obama’s acceptance speech on re-election night included the phrase ‘The Best Is Yet to Come’, many Americans, including the small and medium sized business owners will be hoping this is true.
What do you think? Can and should governments be doing more to support small businesses? What would really have the biggest impact on you?