By Rieva Lesonsky
What are small business owners’ biggest challenges right now, and how do they feel about the future? A recent survey of businesses with sales between $100,000 and $20 million annually from JPMorgan Chase has some insights.
The survey Small Business Leaders Outlook 2018 found some important differences between millennial small business leaders and small business leaders in general. Here’s what you need to know.
Millennial business owners are optimistic
Of course, small business owners in general are optimistic. However, millennials are above average in this regard. Seven in 10 millennial business leaders are optimistic about their local economies, and a whopping 84% are optimistic about their own company’s prospects for 2018.
Millennial business owners expect growth in 2018
Compared to small business leaders in general, millennials are much more confident that their businesses will grow. For example, 82% of millennial business leaders expect to see profits increase in 2018, compared to 62% of all small business leaders. In addition, 45% of millennial business leaders expect capital expenditures to increase this year (versus 25% of all small business leaders) and 44% believe their need for credit will increase this year (versus 25% of all small business leaders).
Millennial business owners seek financing
Speaking of credit, one-fourth of millennial business leaders are considering financing to invest in their marketing efforts, and 26% are thinking about financing in order to purchase inventory. In comparison, among all small business leaders, 14% are considering financing for marketing and 16% for purchasing inventory.
Millennial business owners have different priorities
Where do small business leaders want the government to put its energies? Not surprisingly, the top answer is “reducing regulations,” cited by 39% of all small business leaders. But millennial business leaders are more likely than other generations to care about less traditional “business” concerns. For example, 36% believe government should focus on protecting consumers’ interests; 23% want the government to focus on cybersecurity legislation; 22% would like to see the government produce a comprehensive jobs plan; and 19% want the government to work on expanding foreign trade.
Millennial business owners are hiring . . .
Millennial business leaders are willing to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to growth. Sixty-three percent of them (compared to 32% of all small business leaders) expect to hire more full-time employees in 2018. In addition, 61% of millennial business leaders (versus 41% of all small business leaders) plan to increase their employees’ wages this year.
…But it’s not easy to find good employees
Although they are eager to expand their businesses, millennial business leaders are suffering from some of the same problems that small business leaders in general are facing in finding qualified job candidates. In fact, 42% of millennial business leaders (compared to 31% of all small businesses) say they are concerned about the difficulty of finding skilled job candidates with the experience they need. This may be one reason why millennial business leaders are more likely than small business leaders in general to say that increasing productivity (32%) and managing labor costs (28%) will be key challenges for their companies in 2018.
Millennial business owners rely on technology
While the majority of all small business leaders (63%) say they’re always looking for new technology to help them run better businesses, millennial business leaders are even more eager to take advantage of new technology. Nearly eight in 10 (78%) of millennial business leaders report that they actively seek out new technology to help them manage their businesses. Their reliance on technology, as well as their awareness of the risks it can pose, may be one reason why millennial business leaders are more likely than business owners in general to name cybersecurity as a major challenge for their businesses this year.
Are you a millennial business owner? How do these opinions compare with your own?