An overwhelming majority of small business owners say they do not offer health insurance to their employees, and most believe they will be hurt financially by healthcare reform, according to a survey released today by Discover Small Business Watch.
Still, the small business owners expressed higher economic hopes in January, largely because of increased expectations that conditions for their own businesses would improve in the next six months. The Discover Small Business Watch is a monthly survey of 750 small business owners, each with less than five employees.
"Healthcare continues to be a concern for most small business owners as they try to balance cost with other business obligations," says Ryan Scully, director of Discover's business credit card. "In terms of relief from the pending health insurance reform legislation, they aren't holding their collective breath for anything to change soon."
While a majority of small business owners rated the economy as "poor," and many believed their own business conditions will worsen, more small business owners are planning to increase business development spending over the next six months, according to the survey.
"January showed us the first month-to-month increase since August in the number of small business owners who plan to increase spending on business development," Scully said. The survey revealed that 24% would spend more on advertising, inventories, and capital expenditures—an increase of 18 % from December.
"Self-investment is a healthy sign in the small business economy," he says.
Among the findings in the January survey of small business owners: