By Rieva Lesonsky
How confident are you feeling about the economy and your business? If the results of the first annual American Courage Index (ACI) survey are correct, the answer is “pretty darn good.” The poll by insurance company Hiscox says twice as many small business owners as non-business owners feel “very confident” about the strength of the economy in the next six months (21 percent vs. 10 percent)
But perhaps that positivity isn’t surprising, given that the average small business owner in the survey is 17 percent more courageous than the average American. Even the fallout from the Great Recession hasn’t dampened entrepreneurs’ enthusiasm. Those polled by are demonstrating their courage and confidence with high hopes for the rest of 2015.
For example, 15 percent expect so much growth in the last quarter of the year that they’re planning to borrow money to expand their businesses. Fourteen percent plan to hire more employees in the coming quarter.
How are small business owners expanding their businesses? Fourteen percent of respondents Hiscox polled say they have introduced a new product line in the past year, and 15 percent expect their companies to make a move into a new market in the coming year. Even more courageous, 10 percent plan to expand into international markets.
Some specific demographics are feeling more courageous than others. For example, Millennial respondents (ages 18-34) were more likely to be taking action to grow their businesses. Almost one in three Millennials report having purchased or launched another business in the past year, compared to 13 percent of those over 55. In addition, entrepreneurs in the Western US showed the highest business-related courage and the greatest optimism about the economy—more than twice as much as entrepreneurs in the New England region.
However, when it comes to business, courage doesn’t mean foolhardiness. Small business owners in the Hiscox survey are financially savvy and are focused on smart growth rather than taking unnecessary risks to grow their companies. For instance, in the next quarter, more than one-third of respondents say they will take steps to pay down debt. About one-fourth plan to increase savings, while 20 percent say they will cut overall spending.
As fall approaches, are you feeling courageous and confident? I sure am. The economy is recovering, Americans are spending, and now is the time to take action to move your business forward. Create a plan for growing your business wisely—but don’t let fear hold you back from taking calculated risks and seizing opportunities.
Hiscox has developed a self-assessment tool you can use to gauge your entrepreneurial courage. Visit EncourageCourage.com find out your courage score.