Study: Majority of Business Owners Predict Growth in 2014

It’s the start of a new year – and business owners are feeling more and more optimistic, according to new research from BMO Harris Bank.

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A survey of U.S. business owners finds 54% expect their business to grow in 2014, while 41% predict their company size will stay the same. Only 6% anticipate a decline this year.

Additionally, the outlook for the overall economy, while mixed, seems to be improving. Less than a third of business owners say the economy will worsen in 2014, while 37% expect it to improve.

“While there are concerns in the outlook for our economy, I take heart in the confidence that business owners have in the prospects for their own businesses. It is optimism like this that leads to capital investment, which in turn creates jobs and fuels growth,” wrote BMO Harris Bank  EVP Dave Casper in the release.

But the optimism isn’t evenly spread across the U.S. Business owners in states like Missouri and Illinois are feeling more negative when it comes to the economy, while entrepreneurs in Arizona, California, Minnesota, Florida and Georgia are feeling decidedly cheerier.

One noticeable trend? Aside from Minnesota, the states with the most positive business owners tend to be warmer. Indeed, 20% of the business owners surveyed say the climate in Florida is one of the best reasons to do business in the Sunshine State, and 15% of Arizonian entrepreneurs agree.

Independent research firm Pollara, which conducted the research for BMO Harris Bank, surveyed over 600 U.S. business owners between November 4 and November 22, 2013.