Despite a nasty battle over the fiscal cliff, tax hikes and an ongoing debate over the debt ceiling, small business owners said 2012 wasn’t too bad a year for business. According to a new survey fromManta, an online community for small business, 63% of businesses label last year as successful.
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What’s more, 78% are feeling optimistic about growth in 2013, while 22% said they are not sharing the cheery sentiment.
Manta surveyed 1,300 small business owners about the top issues that are impacting their businesses.
If the debt ceiling issue is not soon resolved, 37% said they would delay hiring, while 14% said they would not give salary increases or bonuses. Thirteen percent said they would eliminate discretionary spending, and 7% will reduce capital cost. Twenty-nine percent said they are not planning differently.
An overwhelming majority do not approve of the job Congress and President Obama did on the fiscal cliff (76%), while 10% said they do approve. Fourteen percent are indifferent. The economy and its impact on business is the biggest stressor for small-business owners (51%), followed by their personal financial outlook (15%) and new government policies and their impacts on business (11%). Other top concerns were the overall health of their business (8%), family (6%), competitive landscape (5%), hiring and firing (3%) and finally personal health (2%).
Hiring stayed somewhat stagnant in the past year, with 80% of businesses saying they were not hiring in the first-quarter of 2012, compared to 82% in the fourth-quarter of the year. This compares to 20% hiring in the first-quarter of the year, and 18% hiring the fourth-quarter of 2012.
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The hiring outlook for the New Year is somewhat better, the survey found. When asked if they planned to hire new workers in the first quarter of 2012, 57% of businesses said yes, compared to 65% of respondents saying yes about hiring plans in the first-quarter of 2013.
Forty-three percent said they did not plan to hire in the first-quarter of 2012, compared to 35% in the first-quarter of 2013.
Entrepreneurs, on average, also worked between 41 and 70 hours weekly, the survey found (68%), with nine percent working over 70 hours and 24% working less than 40 hours weekly. Many are getting less than six hours of sleep a night (37 percent), and the same percentage are making healthy habits in the year to come.