The direction of the market in the near future for small businesses can often be seen in surveys of leaders and professionals, and the most recent results are giving positive signs.

According to the most recent National Federation of Independent Business small business survey, business owner optimism rose by 1.4 points in December to reach a new level of 93.9, improving 2.3 points upon January 2013's initial level of 88.9. In addition, owners increased employment by nearly .25 workers per firm, which is the largest improvement in that level in nearly eight years, and the biggest spike since February 2006. About 48 percent of owners either hired or tried to hire applicants in the last three months, further evidence of an employment spike.

In addition, the percent of owners reporting weak sales as their top business problem was the lowest reported since June 2007, while capital spending outlays grew by 9 percent in December. As many as 64 percent of owners reported new outlays, the highest level reached since early 2005. 

Overall, the NFIB survey had staunchly positive results, seeing its best report of job creation figures since 2007 with a large increase of spending in the end of the year. Outlooks also appear to be more positive in the next year.

Secondary survey backs findings
Governing reports that small businesses were found to have continued optimism in 2014 in a second survey. Citing a Rocket Lawyer survey of more than 800 owners, the news source saw 81 percent of them expecting to do better in 2014 than in 2013, with key concerns being economic growth and the health of the overall market.

Other reports continued to meet these reports of positive growth. The Rocket Lawyer survey saw only 7 percent of respondents expecting a drop in revenue or business in 2014, with health care laws and tax policy standing as the premier concerns in their business. More than 11 percent, however, had no concerns in the near future. Competition and economic uncertainty were seen as the top potential impediments to business growth, while big business and legal issues were also seen as concerning factors.

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