Wells Fargo survey: Small business owners show strong confidence in economy

Small business owners are showing signs of strong optimism, according to the latest quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey.

The optimism, the survey said, is associated with high levels of confidence in present and future financial situations, with 52% of respondents saying revenues for their business have increased over the past 12 months, while 74% said the same of the previous years’ cash flow. Estimates toward these indicators over the next year also had strong scores, with 58% of respondents expecting gains in revenue while 79% expect somewhat or very good cash flow.

When asked how they would rate the current state of the national economy, 63% said it is either “good” or “excellent.”

“What we’re hearing from business owners regarding their revenues and cash flow are encouraging indicators, particularly in a time when many are looking closely at their finances for tax season,” Andy Rowe, head of customer segments, Wells Fargo, said. “Combining these insights with their overall outlook on the economy and a healthy interest in obtaining credit paints a promising picture for businesses as they move forward through 2019.”


The survey looked at how small business owners felt about their tax situation a year after the reformed tax regulations began.

Nearly half (48%) said the recent legislation had little effect on their 2018 taxes, while 51% said the same regarding impacts to their business overall. When asked how their total 2018 tax bill would be impacted, 56% said it would be about the same while 22% predicted higher and 12% said lower.

Access to Credit

Access to credit was another aspect that correlated with strong optimism, the survey found.

About half (53%) of business owners said that credit was somewhat or very easy to get in the last 12 months, with the same number expecting the same level of ease in the coming year. In addition, only 1% said obtaining credit was the top challenge they are facing. Also, 26% said they were interested in applying for new credit in the next year.

Top challenge: Attracting new business

About 11% said attracting new business is the leading issue for small business owners.

In addition, 10% said hiring was the top challenge, which tied with taxes, as well as financial stability (10%), followed by government regulations 7%).