Chase Survey Finds Optimism Among Small Business Leaders

At the start of 2021, there were plenty of reasons for Americans to be optimistic about the year ahead following a challenging 2020. Unfortunately, the year brought its own obstacles — which were only exacerbated as we headed into 2022. Despite this, JPMorgan Chase’s 2022 Business Leaders Outlook Survey finds that the vast majority of small businesses are optimistic about their prospects this year.

According to Chase’s survey of 2,600 business leaders, 71% of small businesses (defined as those with annual revenues between $100,000 and $20 million) expressed optimism about their business’s performance this year. The sentiment was even more common among midsize businesses (with annual revenues between $20 million and $500 million), with 83% noting optimism. Both figures represent increases from the 2021 survey, which saw positive responses from 63% and 77% of business owners respectively.

Looking at some of the survey’s other results, 63% of small businesses and 81% of midsize businesses said they anticipated revenue and sales to increase in 2022. On that note, 53% of midsize businesses report operating at the same or greater capacity than they were pre-pandemic, with 70% saying they’ve seen their profits either returning to pre-pandemic levels or exceeding them.

As for small businesses, several survey respondents noted a need for financing and funding to help them expand their businesses this year. In fact, 69% of respondents said they planned on using financing this year — which marks a 10 point increase from last year’s results. Asked what they planned to use funds for, the top response was “software systems and development” with 23%. In terms of how small business leaders plan on funding such purchases and investments, 48% intended to use a business credit card while 68% also considered online lending options. For context, last year’s survey found 38% of respondents considering business credit cards and 56% exploring online options. Overall, 40% of those surveyed said they expected their credit needs to increase in 2022.

Commenting on the survey’s results, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking’s head of Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries John Simmons stated, “Businesses today are eager to grow, but are having to navigate the reality of not being able to fill open roles quickly enough and dealing with disruptions in their supply chain that are slowing them down. At the same time, it’s encouraging to see companies’ adaptability and the pivots they’ve made to push through major pain points.” Simmons continued, “I’m inspired everyday by the grit and ingenuity of America’s business leaders, who have continued to shine throughout the pressures of the past 18-plus months.”

JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking head economist Jim Glassman added, “Businesses have been key accelerators of the continued economic recovery through their resolve and ingenuity in finding new ways to deliver products and services to their customers. They now have a stronger sense of how to remain competitive in the current economic landscape, which should allow them to build on last year’s momentum.”

As Simmons points out, these survey results are overall good news. That said, it’s worth noting that the survey was conducted during the first half of November before the recent spike in COVID-19 cases led by the Omicron variant. Still, while things may once again be uncertain for now, there’s plenty of year left in 2022 and lots of good reasons for small businesses to feel optimistic.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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