A recent survey shows that small business owners are still worried about debt.
The survey, conducted this year by the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index poll, found that 36 percent of small business owners are very or somewhat uncomfortable with the debt burden of their company.
The same poll showed a slightly higher level of optimism about the future and about the future availability of credit. However, those same business owners say that they feel it is important to reduce their debt and are finding it difficult to do so.
Lessons from the last recession are fresh in the minds’ of business owners.
This may help explain why so many bankers argue that there is a lack of small-business loan demand on the part of many qualified borrowers, even when owner optimism is relatively high. Over the past four years, many small-business owners have seen how having too much debt – overleveraging – has put companies out of business as the operating environment became difficult and lenders pulled back on their funding. Many owners don’t want to expose their business’ survival to the future funding decisions of bankers and regulators.
Falling into another category are small business owners who say they cannot get the credit they need to expand or revitalize their operations. About 20 percent of business owners have this problem, although the survey did not explore the reasoning behind the credit problems.
After the financial crisis, underwriting requirements were dramatically increased and some believe those standards have remained too stringent. Those critics say the credit crunch is choking down the recovery.
In the absence of easier credit, businesses across America are looking to run leaner and meaner. Operations managers are looking for ways to improve productivity while decreasing costs.
Data from our SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard® indicates that for 50 percent of small business owners, productivity since the recession has increased so much, in fact, it’s outpacing growth.