Capital One Small Business Growth Index | Fall 2018

Business Owner Insights


think business conditions are good or excellent, up from 60% one year ago


plan to hire in the next 6 months an increase from 25% one year ago


believe they'll pay less in taxes following tax reform, down from 36% last spring


think new tariffs may negatively affect their business

Optimism is at a record high.

Business growth, economic conditions and the change in presidential leadership have increased business owner optimism.

What’s behind the enthusiasm?

65 business growth

54 national economic conditions

51 improved business operation


think business conditions are good or excellent, up from 60% one year ago


feel the change in presidential leadership has been positive for small businesses

Healthcare, taxes and tariffs are top of mind.

Even with record optimism, business owners have concerns about relevant policy issues.

Primary Concerns


tax policies

economic growth

How might tariffs affect their business?

46 no impact
33 negatively
11 positively

Business owners seem to grasp the impact of tax reform.

Discussing tax changes with an expert is essential to most business owners.


either have met or will meet with an accountant or financial advisor to discuss the tax plan


expect to pay less in taxes, down from 36% who thought the same last spring


feel they will pay about the same in taxes, up from 41% in spring 2018

More business owners are looking to hire.

Despite a dynamic job market, finding skilled workers is the primary hiring challenge.


plan to hire in the next 6 months, up from 25% one year ago


see larger businesses with robust benefits as the main recruitment competitor

What makes it hard to hire?

34 skills gap

30 financial resources

30 competition

28 tight labor market

“Small business owners face many of the same challenges as leaders in larger organizations, yet they tackle these challenges with fewer resources.”
— Brad Jiulianti, Capital One Small Business Card

About the Survey

Capital One's Fall 2018 Small Business Growth Index Survey was conducted by the market research and business intelligence firm Engine (formerly ORC International).

For this telephone study, Engine interviewed a national sample of 501 for-profit small businesses in the United States. Small businesses are defined as those with total annual revenue of less than $10 million.

Interviews were conducted from August 17–September 13, 2018. One respondent per business was interviewed.

The margin of error is +/- 4.38 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

Want more information?
Get in touch with the Capital One Small Business PR Team.

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