Sean Hackbarth Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 30, 2017


If they have access to credit, 2017 looks bright for small businesses.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult for the U.S. Chamber's Center for Capital Market Competitiveness (CCMC) found:

  • Small businesses see banks and financial firms as critical to their success.
  • However, the smallest businesses haven't seen access to credit or loans improve.
  • They think increased financial regulations would hurt them.
  • They expect profits will grow, they’ll hire more at higher wages, and invest more in their businesses over the next year.

The results were released at CCMC's 11th Annual Capital Markets Summit.

Here are a few charts from the poll.

Importance of Banks

Seventy-seven percent say the capital banks provide are important for small businesses to succeed.

But the smallest businesses are frustrated with their access to credit and loans. Only 15% of businesses with between one and ten employees say they've seen capital access improve in the last year. Nearly six-in-ten say it's stayed the same.

Small Business and Policy

On the policy front, 76% of small businesses say a regulatory framework that makes it easier to hire employees is important to their success.

Eighty-four say favorable tax policy at all levels is important; 51% say it’s very important.

Eighty-six percent say “access to banks and financial services firms that are flexible in meeting individual business needs” is important; 48% say it's very important.

What’s more, small businesses don’t see more lending regulations as helping them. Fifty-two percent think more would hurt small businesses, but only 26% think more would help.

At the same time, 51% say decreasing lending regulations will help small businesses.

More Evidence of Business Optimism

As has been seen in other polls like the RSM/U.S. Chamber Middle Market Business Index, small businesses are optimistic about the year ahead.

Sixty-three percent think profits will increase in the next year, while only 7% think they’ll decrease.

Forty percent say they’ll hire more workers in next year. Only 6% will reduce workers.

Forty-three percent say they’ll raise employee wages, while only 3% say they’ll lower them.

Forty percent say they’ll increase capital investments. Only 10% say they’ll decrease them.

If governments at all levels implement pro-growth policies like tax and regulatory reform, small businesses will be ready to invest more in their companies and employees. If that happens, ready access to capital and credit from banks and financial firms will be needed.

About the authors

Sean Hackbarth

Sean Hackbarth

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.

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