Capital One Small Business Growth Index

Business Owner Insights


think a recession may impact the success of their company in the next year


would like to hire but are nervous to take on the added expense


expect to pay more in taxes this year, up from 11% a year ago


are concerned about hiring tech talent to help advance their business

*of business owners with $1-10 million in revenue

Small business optimism dips.

Business optimism has fallen eight percentage points in the past six months; 59% of owners still say business conditions are good or excellent.

Business owners are preparing for the impact of future stock market volatility:

49 will be more conservative with inventory and supply management

36 say it might decrease sales

34 say it might impact their ability to grow their business


say recent fluctuations in the stock market have not changed their business outlook


expect tariffs and the ongoing trade wars to negatively impact their business

Economic uncertainty and a tight labor market are making hiring a challenge.

Small businesses must hire to grow their businesses, but some are nervous to expand in an uncertain economy.

How are business owners competing for talent?

Competitive Salaries

Providing Benefits

Marketing as a great place to work

What’s keeping business owners from hiring?

29 would like to but are nervous to take on the added expense
28 cannot find the right talent
25 are investing in other areas of their business

Mixed feelings on the impact of tax reform.

Compared to 2018, fewer business owners expect to pay less in taxes as a result of the tax plan.


say the tax plan has been positive for small business


of women say the tax plan is positive for small business, vs. 57% of men


expect to pay more in taxes this year, up from 11% one year ago.

Business owners are split on AI and Machine Learning.

Hiring tech talent is top of mind for half of business owners, while some expect tech to replace jobs in the future.


of businesses with $1-10M in revenue are concerned about hiring the right tech talent


expect some of their employees’ roles will be replaced by AI and Machine Learning-based technologies in the next 10 years


feel pressure to change aspects of their business based on industry innovation driven by large companies like Amazon.

“While we saw a slight dip in optimism compared to Fall 2018, small business owners are still making strategic investments in their businesses, while paying close attention to the uncertainty in the stock market and evaluating the potential impact of a recession.”
— Jenn Flynn, Capital One Small Business Bank

About the Survey

Capital One's Spring 2019 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 500 for-profit small businesses in the U.S. Small businesses are defined as those with a total annual revenue less than $10 million.

Interviews were conducted from February 4-25, 2019. 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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