Published October 3, 2011

2011 Small Business Owners Like the Current State of the Economy

Members of congress may be arguing with President Obama about a jobs creation bill, but despite the current state of the economy, most CEOs of small companies are positive about the financial results of the current year and for the future. This is according to the most recent Ink from Chase CEO Survey Report.

This survey is a result of 390 responses from the top small business owners and CEOs in the U.S. Those polled are members of the Inc. 5000 CEOs, a prestigious collection of small business owners and CEOs chosen by Inc. Magazine. The Inc. 5000 is a list that presents a picture of the "brightest of the brightest" small business owners who currently lead the best growing companies.

The survey took place very recently, ending on September 14, 2011. The questions posed to the group were focused on current hiring, 2011 profitability, and outlook for growth. And despite what you hear in the news and what Washington D.C. tells you about the economy and unemployment, the future looks bright, especially for small business economy. Here are some of the results.


According to the survey, 75 percent of the responding CEOs said that they plan to add more workers. To keep that in perspective, the same time last year, 72 percent said they were planning to hire additional employees, and in 2009, only 49 percent were optimistic about hiring additional staff.

What this tells us is that while the current unemployment rate is still too high for comfort, small businesses in the U.S. are hiring. One could project that combining these results with the prospective jobs bill that President Obama is proposing, unemployment could be at more stable levels at this same time next year. While there is no guarantee, the pulse of small business owners says that the future will be just fine.

Small Business Expansion

There are many reasons that small business owners and CEOs are hiring, and one of the main reasons is growth. 67 percent of small business owners said they plan to expand in U.S. markets, and more specifically, expand into NEW markets.

These results mean that small business owners are not just trying to get more customers in current markets, but they will be attempting to penetrate new markets that have remained untapped.

And while they are expanding into new markets, small business owners will also be focusing on current customers. 59 percent of respondents said they expect to be earning more revenue from current customers. That is good news from both a small business owner perspective and a consumer point of view.

Looking into the future, the survey wanted to find out how small business owners think they will be doing in the short-term. 51 percent of small business owners responded that they believe that within 6 months, their companies will be doing at least slightly better than they are now, and even 23 percent said they expect to be doing "much better" 3 to 6 months from now.

More Profitability

While planning, expectations, and optimism are nice, it's results that really count - and the results are backing the small business economy growth predictions. More than 60 percent of the Inc. 5000 CEOs responded that they have met their revenue and profit goals for the current fiscal 2011 year. In fact, 33 percent said they have exceeded both revenue and profit goals.

It may be said that the survey is weighted in favor of already successful small businesses, considering the position of the respondents. However, it does give a much better small business economic outlook than our elected officials in Washington. Interpret what you will from this survey, but the bottom line is that just like any other recession or economic downturn in American history, we always pull through and move forward with consistent economic growth.