U.S. Small Business Owners’ Optimism Inches Up | Q3 2016

The optimism of U.S. small business owners notched up this quarter (Q3 2016), according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. 

+68 | Index rose to +68, up from +64 in Q2 2016
+71 | Index had declined three quarters since Q1 2015 when it reached +71, it highest point since the beginning of the recession in 2008.


The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business index consists of owners’ ratings of their business’ current situation and their expectations for the next 12 months. Factors surveyed include:

  1. Overall financial situation
  2. Revenue
  3. Cash flow
  4. Capital spending
  5. Number of jobs
  6. Ease of obtaining credit

The index stayed fairly consistent to Q2 with one exception: The small business owners surveyed indicate that their cash flow over the past year has increased modestly

60% | Percentage of owners say their cash flow over the past 12 months has been “somewhat- or very-good, compared with 55% in Q2.

Small Business Owners’ Top Challenge: Attracting Customers

#1 Concern (14% of small business owners) | Attracting new customers
#2 Concern (12%) | 
Government regulation
#3 Concern (10%) | 
#4 Concern (11% ) | 
Hiring, retaining quality staff

Since early 2013, these have been the same top four concerns, although the order in which they appear shifts from quarter to quarter

Small Business owners are tuned into the presidential election

87% | Percentage of small business owners who are following the election either closely
77% | Percentage of general public who are following the election either closely

Election dilemma among small business owners

48% | Percentage of small business owners who believe the outcome of the November presidential election will have a major effect on their small businesses
33% | Only one-third of small business owners  said the presidential candidates are discussing the issues most important to them as small business owners

VIA | Wells Fargo / Gallup Small Business Index