Small Business Bullish on Growth

According to the Rocket Lawyer December 2013 Semi-Annual Small Business Survey, more than half of small businesses experienced growth that met or exceeded their expectations in 2013, with 80% reporting they believe 2014 will be even better. While the majority of small business owners believe their enterprise will grow in the new year, 50% say economic uncertainty is the primary impediment to their outlook, and 30% say the health of the economy as a whole is a significant worry.

Business Performance Among US Small Business Owners (% of Respondents)

Performance (Current 2013)

% of Respondents

   Meeting expectations


   Booming; more growth than expected


   Slowing; Fewer customers, potential employee reduction


Performance (Expectation  2014)

   Better than 2013


   No change


   Worse than 2013


Source: Rocket Lawyer, December 2013

With a record-breaking number of technology IPOs in 2013, and the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) bringing healthcare issues to the forefront, 36% of small business owners say the technology industry, and 27% the healthcare industry, have the most opportunity ahead. Other sectors noted include:

  • Food/hospitality (9%)
  • Retail (5%)
  • Education (5%)
  • Legal (3%)

Charley Moore, founder and executive chairman of Rocket Lawyer, suggests that “…  small businesses and startups… (are) key drivers of the economic recovery…”

In 2014 small business owners view marketing and branding initiatives as the top priority, trumping raising funds, developing new products or services, hiring or international expansion.

  • 40% of respondents are focused on increasing marketing presence
  • More than a quarter claim raising funds as a primary concern
  • 13% are concentrating on developing new products or services
  • 6% are focusing on hiring
  • 2% are prioritizing international expansion

75% of small business owners say the ACA did not have a significant effect on hiring. 45% say they are not enrolling in ACA in the next year or two. Of those who are not participating, 40% said it was because they have less than 50 employees and 30% said they were already satisfied with their current plan.

37% of small businesses plan on hiring additional employees in the next six months, according to the report. Of those planning on hiring new employees, nearly half say they will hire full-time employees, while 40% say they will hire part-time employees. More than half of these employees will be hired as independent contractors, according to the survey.

58% of small businesses said they consulted with an attorney this year, with 26% of small businesses claiming complying with government regulations, and 40% with contracts, were top legal concerns, says the report. Other legal concerns include:

  • Debt collection (17%)
  • Lawsuits (16%)
  • Incorporation (15%)
  • Trademark or patent issues (7%)
  • Theft or fraud (6%)
  • Other (13%)

When asked what city is the best place to start a business, (63%) of respondents said smaller cities are better for small business.

For additional information, please visit Rocket Lawyer here.


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