For small business owners, there is little distinction between their life and their work, a new study shows.
The 2012 U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey found that 45 percent of small business owners feel their business is their life and their life is their business, up from 34 percent a year ago.
But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Since their work and personal lives are so intertwined, the survey shows many small business owners feel comfortable taking time off when they need. More than half of those surveyed take time off whenever they want it, and plan to take at least two weeks of vacation this year.
Overall, the majority of small business owners feel they are in a good position. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said the financial health of their business was between good and excellent, up from 64 percent last year.
Additionally, the study shows 29 percent of businesses saw revenue increases compared with last year, up slightly from 26 percent in 2011.
The most optimism comes from businesses with at least $1 million in annual sales. For these larger businesses, 40 percent saw an increase in sales compared with 2011, 58 percent expect revenue to grow next year and 34 percent plan to hire in the next 12 months.
"Small business owners are creating ways to succeed, despite lingering concerns about the economy," said Rick Hartnack, vice chairman of consumer and small business banking at U.S. Bank. "Business is rebounding, especially among businesses with at least $1 million in annual sales and five or more employees. For those businesses, prospects for growth are particularly strong, as are their plans to hire."
With the election season heating up, the survey revealed health care/Medicare, jobs and unemployment, taxes, the federal deficit/debt and Social Security are the issues of most concern to small business owners.
If given the chance to run the country for just a day, small business owners said they would lower taxes, reduce regulations and tackle health insurance issues.
Now in its third year, the U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey polled 3,220 small business owners with $10 million or less in annual revenues.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.