Uncertainty over looming fiscal cliff has small business owners fearing doom and gloom for 2013.

With the Fiscal Cliff Looming, Small Business Owners are Concerned, Very Concerned

Recent survey results show that small business owners are aware of the impending fiscal cliff, and they are concerned. A recent Sage North America survey found 70% of SMB owners are very concerned over the outcome of fiscal cliff negotiations and according to the November 2012 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard, 61% of small business owners surveyed said in spite of the election being settled, they are still uncertain about the government’s ability to avoid the fiscal cliff. In fact, the election did not have a very positive impact on small business owners’ overall outlook – according to the Sage survey 48% responded that their outlook for 2013 is now worse than it was before the election. And that’s not all, additional survey results show that not only are small business owners not optimistic, they are the most pessimistic they have been since the third quarter of 2010, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index.

Despite Pessimism about Economic Outlook, Business Owners are Finding Ways to Remain Optimistic

Despite a lack of optimism, and even downright pessimism over the U.S. economy, small business owners were positive about their own businesses in 2012 and about finding opportunity in the face of difficulty. The Hartford’s Small Business Success study found that in spite of an overall pessimistic view by small business owners, they are making the most of a slowed economy by taking lemons and making lemonade, so to speak. The report found that in response to difficult economic times 90% of those small business owners that responded to the survey are finding ways to cut costs, 76% are strengthening existing client relationships, 69% are prospecting for new clients, and 65% are refining their business strategy. Moreover, regardless of the difficulty they are facing, 85% of small business owners who responded to the Sage survey said that in 2012 their businesses performed either fair, good or very good. Inherent optimism – a required trait for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Source: Sage North America, Wells Fargo/Gallup, SurePayroll, The Hartford