Small Business and The Market Place

Depending on what news outlet you read or watch, you are going to learn how the economy is booming or businesses are disappearing. The fact is that small business owners in the United States face many challenges through out the lives of their business.  The many challenges they face spring from government legislation or economic changes they have to face every year. This week many small business owners that sell through Amazon learned that the items they sell will be “automatically authorized” for return.  Unlike big companies that can offset this return policy change, many small business owners are thinking differently.

For more about this and other stories, follow the links below.


Amazon’s new refunds policy will ‘crush’ small businesses, outraged sellers say

Amazon sellers are up in arms over a new returns policy that will make it easier for consumers to send back items at the merchant’s expense.

Marketplace sellers who ship products from their home, garage or warehouse — rather than using Amazon’s facilities — were told this week by email that starting Oct. 2, items they sell will be “automatically authorized” for return.

That means a buyer will no longer need to contact the seller before sending an item back, and the merchant won’t have the opportunity to communicate with the customer. If a consumer is returning an electronic device because it’s difficult to use, for example, the seller won’t be able to offer help before being forced to pay a refund.


Ransomware attacks hit small businesses the hardest

It’s just one of the grim findings in Malwarebytes’ new ransomware report.

If it seems like reports of ransomware attacks — malicious software that holds data hostage unless a ransom is paid to the person or organization behind it — are increasing, Malwarebytes agrees with you. The company released its Second Annual State of Ransomware Report recently. Among the findings is that 22 percent of small business that were hit with ransomware attacks were crippled to the point they had to cease operations immediately.

It’s a somewhat staggering figure, but it makes sense once you think about it; large corporations often have the resources to work around (or, let’s be real, pay off) these types of attacks. Small businesses, especially ones that rely on day-to-day operations to function, can’t cope in the same way. “To make matters worse, most of them lack the confidence in their ability to stop an attack, despite significant investments in defensive technologies,” said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes, in the press release. The survey also found that small business owners and operators are less likely to pay a ransomware demand.


Survey: Small business optimism reaches highest point in a decade

Small business optimism continues to climb in the third quarter as business owners said they are the most optimistic in more than a decade, according to findings from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, conducted July 10–14.

In the quarterly survey, which measures the optimism of small business owners, the overall Index score jumped to 106 in July – an 11-point increase from 95 in April and the highest since 113 in April 2007. The increase in optimism was driven by several factors, including:

  • Strong financial situation – Seventy-six percent said their current financial situation is very good or somewhat good, up from 73 percent in April.
  • Healthy revenues – For the second quarter in a row, almost half (46 percent) said their business’s revenue increased over the past 12 months, up from 41 percent a year ago.
  • Ease of obtaining credit – Nearly half of small business owners (48 percent) said credit will be somewhat easy or very easy to obtain over the next 12 months.
  • More hiring – Twenty-one percent said the number of jobs at their company increased over the past 12 months, up from 19 percent in April.

 

Ohio Business Entrepreneurs

Are you changing careers? Is your job not what you do it would be? Are you in college looking ahead?

There are many college students looking for opportunities before they graduate from college, but  is that too early? On the contrary, networking and finding the right career opportunities before you are out of college is one great move for any college student.  Meeting potential employers or people with jobs in their particular field can only be a positive move.  Getting to know people that can later on be a liaison between you and a great career opportunity, is something every college kid should be looking forward to do.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Corporate career to entrepreneur: How to prep for the leap

After two decades in the workforce, Ohio businesswoman Deborah Wasylko found herself faced with the prospect of having to move to keep her job while dealing with challenges in her family life. Wasylko concluded that she had a choice: continue her corporate career or become an entrepreneur.

“I decided to start a corporate gift company, because that’s what I love to do,” says Wasylko, the founder and president of Baskets Galore, which creates gift baskets for corporate clients. She had long been enthusiastic about visual design and making people feel cared for, she says, and her new venture touched on both interests. “It was my opportunity to re-engineer my career and follow my passion.”

The allure of becoming your own boss seems strong: As of 2014, there were more than 29 million small businesses in the U.S, up 6% from 2010, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

But excelling in an office doesn’t mean you’re bound for entrepreneurial success. Before you take the leap, tackle these tasks.


Women in Business Expo slated for Oct. 20

NEW PHILADELPHIA Businesswomen and women-owned businesses are invited to exhibit at the 2017 Women in

Business EXPO: The Pink Party at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas on Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Take advantage of this opportunity to present your business to a large audience of consumers in Tuscarawas and surrounding counties, and network face-to-face with 75 businesses represented at the event.

The event offers free admission to the public. A nominal fee of $125 secures each business’ booth space, which includes a continental breakfast. Exhibitor registration forms can be found online at Kent.edu/tusc/sbdc-events.


Event to help Ohio’s minority, women and small-business owners

Minority and female business owners, as well as small-business owners, have a new opportunity to get more business with cities and other government agencies throughout the state.

The first Ohio Municipalities Business Conference is slotted for Aug. 2-3 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The city of Columbus is the host.

The conference is an evolution of the former Mayor’s Small Business Conference & Expo, which was limited to opportunities for business with the city. The new conference expands that statewide “Mayor (Andrew J.) Ginther is committed to diversity and inclusion, particularly supplier diversity. He wants to put his brand and unique approach to the business conference,” said Steve Francis, the director of the city Office of Diversity and Inclusion.


 

Taking Your Business To A Better Place

After a holiday break or vacation break, we do come back to our business ready and inspired to do better.  We look for ways to improve, and we try to make less mistakes.  Not always, but a break from any business is a good motivator to come back stronger.  As you look into your business, can you see what things to improve and what things to let go? Are you inspired to try something new? 

Read more business news by following the links below.


U.S. factory orders fall; core capital goods orders revised up

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – New orders for U.S.-made goods fell more than expected in May, but orders for capital equipment were a bit stronger than previously reported, suggesting the manufacturing sector remained on a moderate growth path.

Factory goods orders dropped 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday after a revised 0.3 percent decline in April. It was the second straight monthly decrease in orders.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders falling 0.5 percent in May after a previously reported 0.2 percent drop in April.

Factory orders were up 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, is losing momentum after gaining steam since mid-2016 amid a recovery in the energy sector that led to demand for oil and gas drilling equipment.


How to take your business from small to big

Q:  I have owned two small businesses and am ready tostart another. I am wondering about growth. My businesses have always stayed fairly small. This time, I want to create something that can scale big. But how? So far, it’s not in my wheelhouse. — Manuel

A: In my book The Big Idea, I looked at people who had unique ideas for businesses and examined how they took that nugget and turned it into a brand  —  things like the Xerox machine, Velcro, Kitty Litter,the cell phone.

While that book looked at breakthrough, innovative products, the idea here is the same, namely, how do you create growth?

Let’s note up front that luck plays a factor, just as it does in life.

When George de Mestral went for a walk one day, he never expected that he would end up with burrs in his sock. But as luck would have it, he did, and decided to look at them under the new microscope he (luckily) had recently purchased.


Ask Doug & Polly: What causes most small businesses to fail?

QUESTION:  What most often causes small businesses to fail?

ANSWER: We’ve heard a lot of people say that the inability to get funding is the thing that causes small businesses to fail.

On the one hand, this may be true. If small businesses had access to an unlimited source of funds, they would never fail.

These businesses also might never make a profit, but as long as they could continue to go back to the well for more funding, they could stay afloat.

We would argue that failure to obtain funding is usually a symptom of a more fundamental problem, but not in and of itself the cause of business failure.

The more fundamental problem is that the business owner has not adequately answered the first question that every business must answer: Why should a prospective customer buy my product or service rather than a competitor’s?


 

Ohio Business Tax Cut and Medicaid Freeze

If you haven’t heard the latest news about Ohio’s Business Tax cut, then here we have them for you. How about the Repeal of Obamacare? We have an article for you as well.  But if you are a small business owner, and make more than $250,000, then the business tax cut may benefit you and you would like to continue like that.  But, if you are dealing with other issues, like when to open a second location for your shop, we have those articles for you too. Read more about these issues by clicking the links below.


Ohio budget panel votes for Medicaid freeze

House, Senate still must approve

COLUMBUS — Republicans generally were not happy when Gov. John Kasich did a run around them four years ago to use a budgetary panel to draw down billions in federal funds to partner with Obamacare to expand Medicaid.

While they quietly appropriated the money to keep the program running in the current two-year budget that will expire Friday, they’re not being quiet anymore.

A House-Senate budget conference committee on Tuesday voted 4-2 along party lines to keep a Senate-passed provision requiring the state to ask for federal approval to freeze enrollment in the program beginning on July 1, 2018.

That provision might force Mr. Kasich to again thwart his fellow Republicans by exercising his line-item veto authority.

Those already in the program would continue to receive coverage. But after that date, the program could not accept new enrollees and would not allow those who were previously on the program but dropped off because of a short-term change in their eligibility status to re-enroll.


New analysis says much of Ohio’s business tax cut goes to the rich

When talking about Ohio’s controversial business tax deduction, Republicans often paint the picture of hard-working, small-business, mom-and-pop-type operations.

“The people I see benefiting from this in my hometown own small restaurants downtown, coffee shops, florists, dry cleaners, folks like that,” Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, told his colleagues Wednesday night.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Scott Oelslager, R-Canton, added: “They go to work every day, turn on a light in their stores, factories and farms and hope somebody comes in and buys their product. We have lifted the spirits of these people.”

But a new analysis by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission indicates that as much as $450 million a year of those business tax cuts are benefiting a wealthy slice of wage earners who represent only 0.5 percent of the state workforce and just 5 percent of those claiming the deduction.


When To Open A Second Location To Grow Your Small Business

“When you are completely booked solid, you have only two options: raise your rates or expand (or both!)” says Rachel Beider, licensed massage therapist and owner of Massage Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, NY. Beider’s solution to growing a small business was to add a second location in Brooklyn, named Massage Greenpoint.

“After raising our prices, we still had long waitlists of clients,” she explains, “and I knew that many were coming from the neighborhood just north of ours.” So Beider found real estate a little farther north from her original studio and opened her doors. Massage Greenpoint has been open now for six months and is continuing to grow. “It is the best investment that I’ve made,” she says.

Many business owners question whether it’s time to open another location, wondering if they’re creating new opportunities or spreading themselves too thin. While you can never know for certain before taking the leap, these entrepreneurs found that certain conditions were signs that the timing could be right.


 

Ohio Small Business News

According to The Ohio Department of Taxation, Small Business tax breaks introduced back in 2013 by Gov. John Kasich is costing the state close to a billion dollars in 2015, and is expected to be much higher for 2016.  Talks to repeal the tax break are underway, with Governor Kasich pushing back against repealing it.

For more bout this and other news, follow the links below.


Ohio Democrats: State should end small business tax break to generate $1.1 billion a year

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Senate Democrats on Thursday pitched their idea to patch the $1 billion state budget hole — eliminate Ohio’s small business tax break.

Repealing the business income tax deduction, phased in since 2013, would generate $2.2 billion over the next two years, according to analysis from the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission.

Democrats said the money would cover the expected revenue shortfall without making cuts and leave another $1 billion to spend on education, health care, local governments, libraries and Ohio’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

“Some people will tell you there’s not enough money to go around, but our real problem right now is irresponsible tax policy,” Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights said at a news conference.

Specifically, Democrats would spend the additional $1 billion on the following over two years:


Kasich Pushes Back Against Repealing Small Business Tax Cut

An income tax break for Ohio’s small businesses in recent years is under fire from Democrats and some Republicans. They say the current budget situation shows it’s time to end that tax cut.

Governor John Kasich is firmly rejecting those suggestions.

Recently, state lawmakers in Kansas ended that state’s tax break for small businesses, saying it didn’t create jobs and cost the state too much money. A similar tax break is costing Ohio more than a billion dollars, but Kasich says he’s not for ending it.

“To raise taxes? Nah, we don’t raise taxes in this state,” Kasich said.

Kasich says the case in Kansas is different because that state didn’t cut spending at the same time the tax breaks were enacted, and he says Ohio did.

Ohio’s revenues $841 million short of projections for this fiscal year.


Small businesses in clean energy sector still hope for best

NEW YORK: Small-business owners who install solar panels or help customers use clean energy don’t seem fazed by President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, saying they expect demand for their services will still keep growing.

They’re confident in two trends they see: A growing awareness and concern about the environment, and a desire by consumers and businesses to lower their energy costs.

“It’s an economic decision people are making, although it also makes environmental sense,” says Suvi Sharma, CEO of Solaria, a Fremont, Calif.-based company that designs and sells solar energy panel systems.

Trump said he was putting U.S. interests ahead of international priorities in leaving the agreement that would, among other things, require the United States and other countries to report greenhouse gas emissions. The United States is the world’s second-biggest emitter of carbon after China, and carbon is one of the gases that scientists cite as a key factor in global warming.


 

Do You Know How Your Small Business Is Doing?

Some of the least enjoyable tasks a small business owner must do is managing their books or creating financial reports.  These chores can also be detrimental to the health of any business if they are not done properly or not done frequently enough.  With all the other tasks small business owners do on a daily basis, accounting should probably not be one of them.  There are too many pitfalls for a small business owner to perform their own accounting, and can prove to be financially irresponsible not to have an accountant  do them for them.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Survey: small business owners remain optimistic about growth

Small business owners are largely optimistic about their ability to grow business and raise revenue in the year ahead, mirroring Wall Street’s sanguine outlook, according to a new index survey released Wednesday.

The MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index produced a score of 60.6. That means 60.6% of small business owners currently have “a positive outlook for their company and the environment in which they operate,” according to a statement from the insurance company and the business advocacy group, which plan to update the index every quarter. The survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,000 small business owners and operators.

A similar percentage of respondents, 60%, expect revenue to rise in the year ahead, compared to 9% who forecast a revenue decline. But they weren’t as eager about boosting their payrolls. About a third of them said they plan to hire more employees, while a majority said they’ll retain their current staffing levels.


Small business owner: Here’s how not to be a starving artist

You live for your art. Every day, you paint or compose music or write short stories or make beautiful hand-crafted objects. But every day, you also need to eat.

If you aren’t  engaging in your art just for pleasure, you’re not only an artist, you’re a small business owner. And if so, it’s all the more important that you realize that starving artists don’t actually last very long.

Here’s a dirty little secret of successful artists: You have to plan on how to make money. Many creative types believe (wrongfully) that if they just pursue their art, the world will discover them, and they’ll become rich, or at least they won’t starve. If only that were true.

Whether you work for yourself or are hired by other companies, especially as a freelancer, here are five tricks to be smart about your art.


Voices 3 key small business questions CPAs must be able to answer

Probably the number one question most clients want to know from their tax professional is, “How much do I owe?” But that’s just the beginning for many small business clients who want their accounting professional’s advice on a variety of business-related questions.

Being able to answer these key questions can help you build a richer relationship that can lead to higher client satisfaction, retention and referrals.

1. How is my business really doing?

Owning a small business can be a lonely proposition; entrepreneurs often feel that nobody really understands their business and the challenges it faces. Their accounting professional often comes the closest, and is someone who can provide real insights.

“I love asking my accounting firm what their thoughts are on my financials,” said Allen Walton, founder of SpyGuySecurity.com. He’s built a multi-million-dollar company in just three years, and worked with a bookkeeper from the beginning, but just hired a CPA last year. With such fast growth, he wants to know whether his business looks healthy and whether there are any areas of concern.


 

Tips And Advice To Have A Healthy Small Business

Having a financially healthy business is always a major goal for most business owners.  Profits that the business has for the fiscal year, allows it to invest in people and business needs without having to resort to borrowing money from the banks.

Planning and organization seem to be extremely important for any business, but for having a healthy balance sheet, those skills are too important to ignore.  If you don’t have a clear number of the business debt you have, you cannot take the necessary steps to be debt free, or to establish a plan to be debt free.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


5 Steps to Getting Your Small Business Debt Free

Debt is a necessary part of running a small business. A business loan, line of credit or a business credit card can help your company hire new employees, purchase equipment and finance growth. But too much debt can stifle cash flow and put your business at risk. And the less you owe, the more you have to reinvest.

The average U.S. small-business owner has $195,000 of debt, according to a 2016 study by Experian.

Small Business Debt Management Tips

Here are five steps to digging your business out of debt.

1. Take Inventory of Your Debt

Sort all of your debts by interest rate and monthly payment. This includes payments on business loans, lines of credit and business credit cards as well as outstanding payments due to vendors.

This process can help you prioritize which debts to tackle first. Some experts recommend starting with the highest-interest-rate debt.


Bad for small business

The Republican leadership’s plan now headed to the Senate repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replacing it with a poor substitute would prove particularly harmful for my business and for the more than 4 million small-business owners, employees and self-employed entrepreneurs who have gained access to affordable coverage under the landmark health care law.

Instead of looking out for small-business owners who are critical components to the strength of local economies, this plan pushes back the tax credit and hurts us all. Lawmakers who supported this so-called reform are trying to bring us back to a time when we paid more for less coverage and could not afford to cover our employees.

Adjustments made through the ACA helped even out the market and cut costs with tax credits for small businesses. Those have not been protected with this new plan. Also, when cuts to housing, food benefits and especially Medicaid are a threat, it weakens our ability for economic growth.


Small business owners: Tax Reform can’t wait

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) tells House Ways and Means Chairman the time is now for comprehensive tax reform

by Jack Mozloom

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) told House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today that small business owners expect comprehensive tax reform this year and that it must feature parity for businesses of every size.

“Tax reform has the potential to have an enormously positive impact on small businesses; it is their top priority in 2017,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan in a letter to chairman Brady this morning. “Given that small businesses account for nearly half of the gross domestic product (GDP) and private sector workforce, and create two out of every three net new jobs, the U.S. economy will not reach its full potential for growth without a robust and flourishing small business sector.”


 

Best Cities For Small Businesses. Where Are They?

Even though the number of added jobs for the first quarter of 2017 was not what analysts were expecting, the fact that businesses — if not hiring yet-are compensating employees with higher wages or other type of incentives is good for the economy.

The optimism small business owners indicated were feeling at the beginning of this administration, has not translated completely to added jobs.  When the second quarter arrives, we hope to have a clearer view of added jobs that will boost the optimism of the small business owner for 2017.

To read more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


The best city for small business in America is not in Silicon Valley

New York City surpassed Silicon Valley to become the top city for small business, according to Biz2Credit’s annual study of the Top Small Business Cities in America. New York’s growth has been fueled by the booming real estate market and the construction industry, banking and finance (including fintech), and the city’s thriving technology sector.

New York City overtook last year’s small-business city leader, San Jose, the hub of Silicon Valley, which dropped to the No. 4 spot on the list. Technology companies in Silicon Valley are still thriving, but it’s the supplementary companies that are faced with challenges of growing. The skyrocketing cost of living in Silicon Valley impedes the profits of many firms. Commercial rents, housing and labor costs weigh down non-tech businesses dramatically. Furthermore, taxes are higher in California, in general. Lacking that economic balance in the area has prevented San Jose from reigning as the leader in top small-business cities this year.


Small businesses hired fewer workers in April but gave their employees raises, Paychex survey shows

Small business hiring fell in April, but wages continued to rise for workers, a report by human resources firm Paychex said Tuesday.

The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.22 percent from the previous month to 100.50. The pace of small business employment growth is down 0.27 percent from a year ago, the company said.

“The decline in the April index mirrors what was reported last month by (the Bureau of Labor Statistics), which showed deceleration of job growth,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “At the same time, the wage report shows continued growth in both hourly earnings and hours worked over the past year.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that nonfarm payrolls grew less than expected, but average hourly earnings were up by 2.7 percent on an annualized basis.

Paychex said national hourly earnings for the month were $25.67, increasing 2.73 percent, or 68 cents, from last year. Weekly earnings were up 2.92 percent from last year.


These 4 tips will help small business owners drastically boost their earnings this year

Whether you’re running an established small business or just starting your journey toward entrepreneurship, it’s safe to assume most business owners are on the hunt for new ways to grow their enterprise and improve their bottom line.

And we should all want to help them do so. Why? According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses create nearly 70 percent of net new jobs nationally, and drive tremendous growth in our local economies. When small businesses flourish, everyone wins.

My father-in-law is a small business owner. As a result, I have seen first-hand the sacrifices they make on a daily basis, and am driven to design products and provide resources to help small businesses meet their goals and fulfill their dreams.

 In honor of National Small Business Week, here are four ways small business owners (SBOs) can drive business growth this year.


Does Your Small Business Need Financial Help?

Do you believe your small business can benefit from a small business loan this year? Do you know where to apply for one?  Small businesses in Michigan are getting workshops and small business loans for their business to help them grow.  The requirements to apply for such loans are minimal and depending on your business, the ROI when you apply for such loans can be monumental.  For more information about this, follow the links below.


Small business owners get help and inside tips in special workshop

Small Business Workshop in Detroit’s Tech Town.

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) – Small business owners are getting ready for a special workshop designed to help them grow their companies. The event is loaded with information for current leaders and aspiring ones. CLICK THE VIDEO PLAYER TO FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UNIQUE EVENT.

The month of May is considered “Small Business Month.”  The LEE Group, is teaming up with Fifth Third Bank and the Michigan Women’s Foundation, for the annual Small Business Workshop.

It’s set for Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 7:30am-1pm, at TechTown, located at 440 Burroughs, in Detroit.

The cost is $75 and includes a continental breakfast.  For more information and to register, please visit: http://leegroupinnovation.com/small-business-workshop/


Small business sales hit record in first quarter

Small businesses remain hot commodities, with first-quarter sales of companies reaching the highest point recorded by BizBuySell.com.

The internet marketplace tallied the number of transactions reported by business brokers nationwide.

BizBuySell.com counted 2,368 closed transactions, up nearly 29 percent from 1,840 in the first quarter of 2016. The improving economy is encouraging current owners to put their companies on the market and spurring buyers to look for businesses, BizBuySell.com says.

Companies that are being sold are healthier than a year ago, with an average $518,159 in annual revenue, up more than 8 percent from $478,000 a year earlier. And sellers are getting better prices; the median sale price was $237,000, up nearly 8 percent from $220,000.


NEIdeas offers $400,000 in grants to help small businesses grow

Small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park can apply for $400,000 in grants to help them grow.The New Economy Initiative program targets companies that are at least 3 years old.

Applications for the NEIdeas: Rewarding Ideas for Business Growth challenge will be accepted from May 1 through June 1. Information sessions begin Tuesday.
The applications will be reviewed by a jury of local small business owners and past NEIdeas winners.Twenty businesses that gross less than $750,000 annually will be selected for $10,000 awards.
Two business that gross more than $750,000 and less than $5 million annually will be selected for $100,000 awards.NEIdeas has awarded $1.5 million to 96 local businesses since 2014 and connected others to technical assistance opportunities.


 

Healthcare and Small Business Borrowing

Businesses in the United States  are still waiting to see what happens with healthcare, and other policy changes in the new administration before they commit to investing or hiring, or any other change that can affect their business.  The euphoria of the Election is passing, and with it the high optimism businesses felt.  Numbers are not as promising as analyst predicted, jobs felt short by more than 100K, and the business community is waiting.

For more about this and other stories, follow the links below.


Small-business sentiment declines as post-election euphoria runs out of steam

Small-business owner optimism declined in March as sales expectations and earnings came back to earth after a post-election surge.

The National Federation of Independent Business said its monthly sentiment gauge fell 0.6 point to 104.7, a slightly larger decline than the 0.5-point dip forecast by economists surveyed by Econoday.

The post-election surge was the biggest in the four decades NFIB has been conducting its survey. The gauge rose again in January but then receded in February.

In March, some warning signs appeared. The uncertainty index rose to 93, its second-highest reading on record. “More small business owners are having a difficult time anticipating the factors that affect their businesses, especially government policy,” noted Bill Dunkelberg, the groups’ chief economist.
But pessimism was widespread in March. Of 10 survey components, only three notched an increase.


Trump just said small businesses were ‘unable to borrow from banks’ — but small-business owners disagree

In a meeting with some of the most powerful CEOs in the world on Tuesday, President Donald Trump argued that small businesses were struggling to find financing.

“So many people come to see me — I see them all the time — small businesses that are unable to borrow from banks,” Trump said. “They never had a problem five, six, seven, 10 years ago. They had great bankers, great relationships, now they can’t borrow.”

The president blamed the post-financial-crisis Dodd-Frank banking regulations, which were enacted in July 2010, and higher capital requirements for the largest financial institutions. Trump said he planned to “streamline” or “eliminate” Dodd-Frank to allow small businesses to borrow again.

Trump’s narrative, however, is the opposite of what small-business owners are saying.


How small businesses are dealing with health care limbo

Republicans have called it quits for now on any plans to do away with Obamacare.

But while it may remain the law of the land, President Trump and GOP leaders in Congress don’t want it to stay that way.

That’s a lot of uncertainty for small business owners like Dr. Vicki Bralow and her husband Dr. Scott Bralow to handle. The couple is less than a month out from opening up their joint primary care office in Philadelphia. Until now, Vicki co-owned a practice downtown where she voluntarily offered her employees insurance.

“One year I’m paying $650 for a family policy and then the following year I’m paying $1,150 a month for a policy,” she said. “That’s a really, really big deal.”

Vicki’s old business is one of nearly 2 million nationwide that employs three to nine workers, by far the group of companies most vulnerable to Obamacare premium spikes.