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Third of small-business owners worried about failing, poll finds

October 25, 2011 | 10:20 am

About a third of small-business owners say they are concerned about going out of business, according to a poll
These are worrying times for small-business owners, with about a third saying they are concerned about going out of business, according to a new poll from Gallup.

About the same number of respondents said they are also fearful that they won't be able to hire enough workers or pay the employees they already have, the poll found. Three in ten said they fret about having to lay off staff members.

The difficult environment is exacerbated by a tangle of government regulations, said 22% of respondents. Weak consumer confidence and paltry demand are also major problems, according to the survey, which was conducted with Wells Fargo.

The stress appears to extends into their personal lives. Half of small-business owners in the poll said they worry about not being able to spend time with their family or pursuing personal interests; two-thirds said they agonize about not being able to save enough for retirement.

The survey was based on telephone interviews with 604 small-business owners, conducted Oct. 3-6. Results have a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, Gallup said.

In spite of the poll numbers, small businesses have also shown recent signs of strength. The sector led a modest increase in private-sector employment in September by adding 60,000 new positions, according to a report from payrolls processor ADP.

And small-business optimism ended a six-month slide last month by gaining 0.8 points on an index calculated by the National Federation of Independent Business. Still, analysts are wary, as business owners continue to report poor sales.

“An increase in consumer spending would be the best imaginable stimulus right now, not gimmicky Washington policies,” Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist of the independent business group, said in a statement.


Small-business owners feeling less optimistic in July: report

Private sector adds 91,000 jobs, but planned layoffs at 2-year high

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: The scene along Main Street inside Disneyland Park. Things aren't quite as optimistic out in the real world version. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times