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Survey says: Increased optimism among small-business owners

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Survey says: Increased optimism among small-business owners

The laundry industry is unique and exciting. Few industries can boast the staying power of this one – laundromats, dry cleaners and similar businesses typically last for generations. Few industries are filled with this many dedicated entrepreneurs, and few industries have this many long-lasting small businesses.

At the core of the success and the positives of the laundry industry are the small-business owners themselves. Truly an embodiment of the "American Dream," most of these owners have left their old jobs far behind in favor of the brighter pastures of a laundry business.

In fact, a growing trend has emerged in small businesses across the country – increased optimism. This was illustrated by the June 2015 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard. SurePayroll, an online payroll services firm, polled a number of small-business owners to get their opinions on the U.S. economy and the state of their enterprises.

And, the findings were positive:

Economy helps reduce stress levels
So far in 2015, the U.S. economy has steadily improved. That change has had a significant effect on small-business owners as well, as shown by the SurePayroll survey.

For example, 35 percent of those polled said that less stress was a direct advantage of a better economy. Other benefits that were close behind included more cash flow for reinvestment or enough money to hire more employees, at roughly 20 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

"Anyone who has run a business will tell you the stress can be overwhelming, particularly in difficult economic times," explained SurePayroll general manager Andy Roe. "I think a lot of small business owners are breathing a little easier now that we’re seeing more stability in the economy. It’s a good feeling to be able to focus on hiring and growing the business, rather than cutting costs or cutting back on staff."

Furthermore, the SurePayroll study found a few other interesting facts about small-business owners. One is that more than half are on pace to exceed revenues from 2014. The other is that 86 percent expect to be profitable over the remaining half of 2015.

What are the key obstacles?
Naturally, an improving economy won’t lead to smooth sailing for every small-business owner. While most are more positive about their outlook for 2015 and beyond, they still have to overcome some obstacles along the way.

So then, what are these obstacles? A survey conducted by consumer services firm Thumbtack, in conjunction with Bloomberg, polled thousands of small-business owners across the country. Some top problems on their list included:

  1. Economy – The economy, while a positive right now, is always up and down. These fluctuations have many small-business owners worried about the future. Not knowing what’s coming around the corner can be stressful, even if conditions are conducive to small-business growth.
  2. Competition – There’s always someone bigger, better, faster and stronger. This goes for small businesses too, which are often concerned about competition from that other guy.
  3. Consumer confidence – The third problem facing small-business owners today is consumer confidence. Out of those polled, more than 10 percent cited consumer confidence as a problem, only slightly behind competition. Just as the economy affects businesses, it can influence whether or not people are buying.

This last issue – consumer confidence – is an interesting one, and a testament to the laundry industry’s staying power. While you will have to keep an eye on the economy and your competition as you grow, you can place less of an emphasis on consumer confidence. This is because the laundry industry is almost always in demand. Even in periods of recessions and economic turmoil, these businesses are hampered less than their peers in other sectors.

At the end of the day, most small-business owners are happy, and there appears to more growth coming over the horizon.