Back to Business: Top Issues Concerning U.S. Small and Medium Business Leaders


Quickly shifting headline news can be head spinning in the current political and economic climate. The last few weeks have had up and down news related to interest rates, consumer confidence, tariffs, tax policies and more. What doesn’t change is the profound effect these factors can have on businesses’ financial health. They impact cash flow – which is always a key determinant of whether small and medium-sized businesses can pay and get paid on time.

Today, released the results of a survey that analyzed the sentiment of nearly 1,700 small and medium businesses across the U.S.

The survey queried members of the Business Payments Network, businesses that are typically technology-forward and among the first in the market to adopt the latest innovations to improve their offerings. The findings reveal that 78 percent of these SMBs are concerned about tax policy and how it will affect their organization. Of all the economic indicators in the news, Consumer Confidence is the factor SMBs most commonly cite as the key financial indicator impacting their business. The majority of those surveyed have a positive outlook on the economy, with 78 percent expecting economic conditions to stay about the same or improve in the coming year.

After tax, regulation policies most concern today’s SMBs  

  • While 78 percent are concerned about tax policies impacting their business, 68 percent find potential upcoming changes in Federal regulations concerning issues and 65 percent find potential upcoming changes in State regulations also concerning.
  • Next on the list is health care legislation with 64% worried about how potential policy changes might affect their business.  
  • At the bottom are local regulations (59 percent); immigration policies (45 percent); and tariff policies (42 percent).  

Consumer confidence carries the most weight to SMBs

  • While economists track a number of variables to assess U.S. economic health, SMB leaders care most about Consumer Confidence. Forty six percent of SMBs cite Consumer Confidence as the number one most important economic indicator that impacts their business.
  • Unemployment and interest rates trail far behind with 13 percent of SMBs rating these factors as most important to their business health. .
  • The list is completed by inflation (11 percent), stock market performance (11 percent) and the value of the U.S. dollar (10 percent).

Current positive SMB business outlook is projected to continue

  • Sixty six percent of today’s SMB  say they are better off financially versus a year ago and 41 percent predict that overall U.S. business conditions will continue to be better off in the coming year.  
  • Likewise, 66 percent believe now is a good time to make business-related growth investments with over 63 percent saying now is a good time to add permanent W-2 employees to their staff and 74 percent believing now is a good time to add non-permanent contractors to their team.  

The study also included outlooks and sentiments about company technology and technology investments.  Look for a recap of those findings here in the coming weeks.

* surveyed approximately 1,700 small and medium business within its digital business payments network in all 50 states between August 29, 2018 and September 15, 2018.


October 23, 2018
Tanya Roberts
VP of Corporate Marketing,
Tanya is a marketing visionary seasoned in establishing strong corporate brands and growth. Prior to, she served as SVP of Marketing for GreenRoad, acting VP of Marketing for Drivewyze, and held executive roles at Intuit, SugarSync and PayCycle. Tanya holds a bachelor of science degree from University of Denver.