Survey Finds Small Business Owners Anticipate Growth in 2015

Headway Capital’s Study Uncovers Primary Financial Concerns Include Funding Growth and Covering Unforeseen Expenses

A new survey of small business owners conducted by Headway Capital found that 57 percent of small business owners anticipate growth in sales or revenue in 2015. Additionally, while increases in operational costs and unexpected expenses are the biggest financial worries for small businesses, many expect cost increases to come from growth-related activities. With this week being National Small Business Week, it’s a good time to understand how small business owners are thinking about the next few years.

“Small business owners have gone through a lot during the past few years, and now they’re not only ready to grow – they’re expecting it,” said Paul Cho, director of small business lending for Headway Capital. “While increased day to day operations and unforeseen expenses remain the biggest financial concerns, we’re encouraged that many small business owners expect their expenses to increase in areas directly related to growth, such as hiring more people and pursuing new opportunities.”

Day-to-day Operations Consume Cash Flow, but Unexpected Expenses Pose a Threat

When it comes to financial concerns, small business owners aren’t as worried about one particular expense as they are about increased operating costs. The survey results show that 38.8 percent anticipate spending most of their capital on operations, with wage increases and inventory and supplies costs tied for the second biggest expected financial burden in 2015.

Compared to the past two years, more than half of small business owners (57.1%) are anticipating moderate to high growth in their operational expenses in 2015. Similarly, 52 percent of survey respondents expect moderate to high growth in their inventory and supplies costs and 51 percent in wage increase-related expenses.

While operational expenses are the biggest financial burden for small business owners, they don’t want to be caught off guard by an unexpected or unforeseen expense. Nearly 19 percent are concerned about unexpected expenses, not far behind operational expenses. While operational expenses can be planned for, the unexpected can create fear and uncertainty.

It Takes Money to Grow

Despite overall concerns surrounding costs to keep the business up and running, many small business owners financial concerns underscore expected growth in the coming year – namely, creating more jobs and pursing new opportunities.

  • Nearly 20 percent (19.7%) are most concerned about growth related expenses in 2015 – which include increases in payroll as a result of additional hires as well as costs associated with new opportunities.
  • 37 percent expect costs associated with hiring additional employees to be moderate to high in 2015 when compared to the past two years.

Should additional funding become available, more than 45.3 percent of small businesses would allocate additional funds toward business development.

Seeking More Capital for Growth

With high hopes for growth in 2015, it comes as no surprise that small business owners are eager for additional capital. The survey found that those looking at funding options to keep their forward momentum are beginning to look outside of traditional credit sources.

Historically, traditional means of lending have been the prime resource for small businesses accessing additional credit, with 39.2 percent using banks in the past year and 26.6 percent using credit cards. When asked what funding options they would consider looking at in the coming year, respondents indicated banks were still number one; however, more small business owners are now considering alternative lending as a viable option.

Almost 28 percent of small business owners are looking into alternative lending products to address financial concerns, which is an increase of 9.2 percent compared to the number of survey respondents who stated they have used alterative lending products in the past. With alternative lending products on the rise, only 15.4 percent of small business owners are considering credit cards as a funding option for the upcoming year, which is significantly lower than the 26.6 percent of respondents who used credit cards in the last two years to cover expenses over other means.

Education On New Funding Options

Not all small business owners know their options – when asked about the biggest hurdle they have encountered when attempting to secure additional funding, almost half (41.5%) were unsure of the options that are available to them. Although many are considering bank loans to cover expenses in the coming year (41.3%), there is an opportunity for small businesses to be educated on other sources of credit.

“The fact is many small businesses need access to capital to grow, but they have been turned away from banks and are unaware of other funding options available to them,” said Cho. “With the rise of technology and online lending, there are many other options like lines of credit that give small business owners the flexibility they need to manage and grow their business.”

About The Survey

This online survey was conducted in the United States from January 20 until April 15, 2015 by SurveyMonkey on behalf of Headway Capital. Survey participants included 467 individuals owning small business with $200,000 – $4 million in annual revenue and have been in business for more than a year. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Headway Capital

Headway Capital allows small business owners take charge of their business with flexible lines of credit up to $30,000. Customers can draw credit when they need it, receive funds the next business day, and choose from multiple repayment options. Headway Capital is part of Enova International, Inc. (NYSE: ENVA), a leading technology and analytics company that has been providing loans for over a decade.

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