The American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor shows just 20 percent believe economic conditions are the biggest barrier to growth (compared to 23% in the fall of 2011), fewer have cash flow concerns (53%, versus 58% in the spring) and fewer are stressed out by the economy (59%, versus 64% in the spring). Small business owners’ top priority, is maintaining their current business and sources of revenue (32%) and as a result they have adopted a “wait and see” approach for growth plans. Only 29% of businesses surveyed have plans to hire new employees, down from 35% in the spring.
Only 16% of entrepreneurs say the economy has caused them to lay off employees versus 21% six months ago. The Success Index, profiling High achievers, strivers, sustainers and strugglers, shows high achievers represent 6% of the total survey sample, and on average, have spent twenty-six years in business, employ eighteen people in their firms and have attained business growth of thirty-four percent over the last three years (versus 10% growth for the total survey population). The Success Index was developed based on self-reported responses to questions regarding business growth and characteristics correlated with high-performing entrepreneurs.