Hard working and eternally optimistic. Those are the traits that seem to characterize the majority of small business owners we write about here, and they're verified by those who responded to a survey conducted in May by Rocket Lawyer. The online legal services provider polled more than 1,000 of its small business customers nationwide in its 2013 Semiannual Small Business Survey.
More than half of respondents across all age groups say their businesses have been growing or even "booming" in the first half of 2013. More than one-third say business is still flat and not much has changed since a year ago, but an overwhelming number of respondents—73%—say they expect the second half of this year to be better. Rocket Lawyer's June 2013 survey results show markedly increased optimism since a year ago, when the survey showed that 56% had such sunny outlooks, but a slight drop in optimism since January 2013, when 81% predicted the next 6 months would bring better business.
How do small business owners believe things could improve? It's clear they continue to blame the overall economy for stalled small business growth. More than 60% name either the economy or the federal deficit as their top priority for the President, few (19%) are willing to pay more taxes to help put a dent in the deficit, and a whopping 79% say the sequester has had no impact on their business.
Thirty five percent of respondents say they plan to hire in the next six months; that's about the same percent who had hiring plans six months and a year ago. And while most (42%) say their new hires will be a blend of independent contractors and full- and part-time employees, more respondents have plans to hire only contractors than only full- or part-time staff.
Despite the uptick, very few will take a real break this summer. Asked, "How frequently do you end up working on your 'vacation time'?" 85% say "sometimes" or "always." Rocket Lawyer founder and chairman Charley Moore calls it good news that "Main Street businesses are increasingly optimistic and focused on growth."