More owners of small businesses are optimistic about the short-term growth for the U.S, economy, but less willing to take risks with their investments, according to the results of a new survey by The Hartford.
"Risk-taking has always been the domain of America's small business owners," said Liam E. McGee, chairman, president and CEO of The Hartford, an insurance and investment firm based in Hartford, Conn. "Today, many small business owners say that the Great Recession left them with scars and they are now more cautious in how and where they invest their capital.
"To get this growth engine of the economy growing again, small businesses need more clarity and certainty on what tomorrow will bring," McGee said.
The third annual study also found that slow economic growth, taxes, uncertainty with federal regulations and healthcare costs continue to top the list of major risks to small business owners. However, the number of small business owners citing these factors as major risks to their business has significantly declined, suggesting they may be adjusting to the reality of today's economic environment.
Forty-eight percent of small-business owners are optimistic that the national economy will strengthen this year, a sizable jump from 33 percent in The Hartford's 2012 survey. Meanwhile, 79 percent of owners rate themselves as conservative rather than risky in the overall level of risk they're currently taking with their business, up from 73 percent in the fall of 2012.
Meanwhile, small-business owners feel more optimistic about their local economy in the next six months than the national economy (48 percent versus 22 percent, respectively).