Small business owners happy with current business conditions but fear recession

A Capital One survey reported business owners doing well but are preparing for a recession--just in case.

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Small business owners feel good about the current state of the economy but expressed fears of a recession in a new survey from Capital One

Capital One commissioned a survey of 500 small businesses in the US with revenue less than $10 million, asking them a range of questions about the state of the country's economy.

Almost 65% of businesses said conditions for businesses were good or excellent right now, while nearly half told the survey they were concerned about the potential effects of a recession in the next year.

The bi-annual Small Business Growth Index also said 85% of companies would be affected if a recession started in the next six months, and less than 40% said they were financially prepared to withstand a recession. 

"Running a small business requires relentless optimism and motivation, and it is encouraging to see that business owners are not letting speculation of a potential recession dampen their optimism," said Jenn Flynn, head of small business bank at Capital One. "With the 2020 election looming, business owners' top concerns continue to focus on taxes, technology, and cash flow, which will potentially play a role in their voting decisions." 

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The 2020 US presidential election also weighs heavily on the minds of small business owners. Almost 70% of respondents said the election would have an affect on their business, with most concerned about higher taxes, more competition, and rapid technological changes.

The survey had a number of statistics that reflected the conflicted feelings of many small business owners. Despite generally positive views about the current state of the economy, just 36% of survey respondents think their company will be in a better place financially in six months. 

Hiring trends have remained the same as they were in the spring, with 30% of companies saying they planned to hire in the next six months.

The survey said small businesses run by millenials, minorities, and women were more likely to hire in the next six months. Companies hope to lure top-tier candidates with higher salaries, more purpose-driven business concepts, and flexible schedules.

"It is an interesting point in time, as the economy continues to be relatively strong and optimism remains steady, many are still concerned about a potential recession and uncertain impact of the 2020 presidential election," said Brad Jiulianti, head of small business card at Capital One. "We are confident that the small business community will continue to tackle the challenges that come their way while staying positive and courageous."

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