There is no better teacher than experience. One of the exciting components of this year’s McElvy Partners Small Business Sentiment Survey is that experienced business owners took the time to respond – 86 percent of those surveyed have been in business more than four years.

When we surveyed, we asked these businesses to tell us how long they had been at it. The choices were one to three years, 4-10 years, 11-20 years, or more than 21 years. We managed to survey nearly 50 businesses that have been around more than 20 years. That age group was our largest response. By comparison, we surveyed 17 businesses open three years or less.

Why is this a good thing? Because we are in an uncertain time. In the last year, there have been major changes in government and a global pandemic that has rocked economies. The whole survey reflects the great uncertainty that is pervasive in our nation and that uncertainty has trickled down to small businesses.

About half of the respondents said they want to hire in 2021 but about half will not add staff. Very few surveyed plan to make a capital purchase in 2021. And while those are negative trends, those surveyed do expect their revenues to grow, which moves the needle from negative to uncertain.

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*In partnership with McElvy Partners