corporate trends

Small Business Owners Are Highly Optimistic About 2017, Outpacing the General Public

More than half planning to hire, borrow; Majority favors political landscape

NEW YORK, January 20, 2017 – A large percentage of American small business owners are optimistic for growth in 2017 with some important investments in their businesses, including hiring, according to a New York Life survey of more than 1,200 small business owners fielded recently by Ipsos Public Affairs.

Interestingly, the optimism among small business owners significantly outpaces that of the general public.

Small Business Owners

Americans Age 30 and Up

Expect financial situation to improve in the coming year




When asked about financial expectations for their business in 2017, 60 percent of small business owners are optimistic compared to 43 percent of Americans age 30 and over, who were asked the same question about their personal finances in a study New York Life issued in late December. This optimism can be attributed to a number of areas that small business owners expect will have a positive impact on their businesses:

  • Technology – 75%
  • The new political landscape – 57%
  • The employment market/talent pool – 56%
  • Interest rates – 54%
  • Health insurance – 53%

“Small business owners are heading into 2017 with good feelings, and this was consistent across size and years in business,” said Brian Madgett, Vice President, New York Life.

Small Business Owners Are Building Their Companies in 2017:

Plan to incorporate mobile technology in my business


Plan to network more with other business owners and/or professionals


Plan to grow my company- e.g, open another location, increase revenues, expand capabilities, etc.


Plan to seek additional capital


Plan to hire more employees


Plan to improve my employee benefits package


Plan to take out a loan



Some of the key planning steps (financial and otherwise) that small business owners are interested in taking throughout 2017 include:

  • Learning about ways to minimize taxes – 79%
  • Taking a family vacation – 75%
  • Learning about ways to build an emergency fund – 71%

“Small business owners have big plans for 2017, with many looking to incorporate tech, seek capital, hire, improve offerings to employees and explore ways to better manage their money,” said Madgett. “We’re hearing positive economic sentiments across the country in our conversations with small business leaders. With this shift in attitude comes a renewed interest in financial planning and is no wonder that 55 percent report they plan to engage a financial professional for assistance as it relates to their business needs in 2017.”




About the Survey
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted November 30 – December 8, 2016 on behalf of New York Life. For the survey, a sample of 1,244 U.S. adults over the age of 18 was interviewed online, in English. In order to qualify, respondents had to be owners of business that employed no more than 500 employees. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2015 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, region, race/ethnicity and income. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.
About New York Life
New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States* and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings currently awarded to any life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).** Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investments*** provides institutional asset management. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as retail mutual funds. Please visit New York Life’s website for more information.
*Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, 6/17/16. For methodology, please see .
**Individual independent rating agency commentary as of 8/9/16.
***New York Life Investments is a service mark used by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC and its subsidiary, New York Life Investment Management LLC.