Small business owners report top concerns

As you may remember, in our online poll last week we asked about the most pressing issues in your business today, and gave you five options:  Negative cash flow, getting a business loan,  need more customers, impact of Obamacare, or taxes and/or regulations. Here’s what we learned.

Any business that has survived since 2008 has figured out how to be successful in an extended and languishing recovery. One of the markers of that success has been deleveraging, and one of the markers of deleverage is improved cash flow. Consequently, the first two responses play off of each other: Cash flow registered only a 16% response due to deleveraging, and low–in this case zero–loan demand.

Tracking cash flow and loan demand have provided a very interesting study in business fundamentals as we’ve polled our small business audience since 2009. As loan demand continues to be almost non-existent, cash positions seem to continue to improve.

The reason Obamacare barely moving the worry meter at 5%  is because the issue is kind of dormant right now.But it will resurface in 2014 as small business owners begin to learn what the employer mandate is going to do to them beginning in 2015.

The two big responses, more customers at 54% and taxes/regulations at 25%, can be taken two ways: No business owner ever admits to having enough business and no one likes taxes and regs. But based on the economic indicators of the first half of 2014, recent tax increases, and out-of-control growth in new regulations, my instinct is that these are not gratuitous responses and are the two top concerns of most small business owners.

Thanks again for participating in our polls. Please respond to our new poll below, and keep up the good work. I’m proud of you.

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