Banking & Finance

Confidence in Economy Fuels Organic Growth: Survey

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. Confidence in the business climate and optimism about what lies ahead in 2017 for both the economy as a whole and their individual businesses is enabling small and medium business owners to make marketing, technology and operations investments that will fuel organic growth, a new survey from Citizens Bank finds.

The survey of more than 1,200 business owners and decision makers shows that more than half (51%) of businesses expect significant improvement in the national and regional economies. The strongest improvement is within their individual industries (56%) and consistent across all industry categories.

“We’re seeing a general optimism about the economy among our longtime customers and businesses in general, fueled by recent changes on the national stage. Interestingly, this confidence isn’t driven by expectations for specific policy changes,” said Jack Murphy, president of business banking for Citizens Bank. “This optimism is translating into growth in terms of capital expenditures as well as hiring, with three-quarters of businesses telling us that they plan to hire staff in the near future.”

“This bodes well for individual businesses and broader economic conditions,” continued Murphy. “As we know, the more than 28 million small businesses in the U.S. that employ 48% of the private workforce are the engines of the economy.”

Increased sales and revenue growth and the availability of resources are the most significant factors impacting expectations for success, with businesses anticipating using this additional revenue to fund their growth and operations initiatives. For example, 81% of businesses plan to increase their investment in technology in the next year.

Other key findings from this year’s survey include:

  • Technology can and must be leveraged for growth. Ninety-five percent of decision makers believe technology will impact the future success of their business and overwhelmingly expect their investment in technology to increase in the next year (81%).
  • Optimism is not tied to specific expectations. Only about half of businesses see tax policy changes impacting their business (44% at the federal level and 50% at the local level). Anticipation for regulatory impacts is even lower with two-thirds of businesses indicating regulatory changes will not impact their businesses.
  • Among those who do foresee a positive impact from legislation, health care at the federal level (64%) and environmental regulations (51%) are where they expect relief.
  • Improvements in financial performance are expected. Nearly all businesses (69%) believe their financial future will improve in the next 12 months and a third believe it will significantly improve.
  • Optimism is stronger across some industries, in particular Industrial and pharma/biotech, which are more bullish on revenue.
  • Optimism should translate into growth. Relative to other industries, Industrial (57%), Tech (56%) and pharma/biotech (53%) anticipate higher capital expenditure.

For a copy of the Citizens Bank Small Business Pulse Survey, click here. 

SOURCE: Citizens Bank Survey

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.