Small business operators are much more optimistic about their ability to ride out the pandemic than they were in April. And they are also more bullish on current business conditions and prospects for growing revenue over the coming year. These are a few of the key findings from the Q3 CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Index, released yesterday.

The Q3 index surveyed 2,040 small business operators between July 20 and 27. Among these respondents, a full 64% said they could survive for more than a year under current business conditions. This contrasts sharply with the Q2 index, conducted between April 21 and 27, with 2,200 respondents. In the Q2 survey, only 32% of respondents believed they could survive for a year or more.

The general view of business conditions has improved as well. In Q3, 77% described business conditions as “good” or “middling.” In Q2 that figure was just 60%.

More Faith in Technology Than Government

One notable feature of the index is the contrast it shows between the lack of faith in the government to provide relief with a relatively optimistic view of how technology will impact business in the coming year.

When asked about the expected impact of government regulation over the next year, 34% expected the impact to be negative. This is slightly down from 38% in Q2. Only 20% expect a positive impact (unchanged from Q2).

The results on tax policy were similar. Only 23% expected tax policy to have a positive impact in the coming year. In Q2 the figure was 20%. By contrast, in Q3 33% expected tax policy to have a negative impact. Back in April, 38% had low expectations for tax policy.

The tune changes when SMBs are asked what impact they expect technology innovation to have on their businesses in the coming 12 months. Only 8% of Q3 respondents believe technology will have a negative impact. By contrast, 38% expect technology will have a positive impact.

This contrast isn’t terribly surprising, knowing what we know about small business owners. Entrepreneurs pride themselves on independence and self-reliance, which naturally lends itself to skepticism about government.

Consistent with Localogy Findings

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey findings are consistent with what Localogy discovered with its most recent Modern Commerce Monitor™ small business tracking study.

Wave V-III, completed in July, also showed an increase in business optimism from April, when Wave V-II was conducted.

For example, only 34% of Wave V-II respondents said they will not be doing any furloughs or layoffs in response to the crisis. That number had risen to 47% by Wave V-III.

Additionally, in Wave V-II, only 33% of small business operators said they would increase their operating budgets in the next three months. By Wave V-III that number had climbed to 55%. That’s a 67% change in just a few months.

To learn more about the latest MCM results, please request a copy of the Wave V-III report. 

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