New survey says now is a good time to expand your business

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In case you missed it, a new survey by NFIB found a record number of the country’s small-business owners say now is a good time to expand.

What makes that so interesting is that small-business owners are notoriously wary about spending money. You can’t blame them. Small-business owners usually aren’t sitting on piles of cash. Their life’s savings are tied up in their businesses. They’re not going to spend a penny unless they’re pretty sure they’ll make it back, and with interest.

When last month’s NFIB Small Business Economic Trends survey showed a record 32 percent of owners say now is a good time to expand, it was a clear sign that Main Street is feeling good about the economy — and for good reason.


Congress and the administration have shown a commitment to growing the economy by reducing costly, outdated and unnecessary regulations and by passing historic tax-relief legislation that is going to help small businesses expand, create jobs and help grow the economy.

Businesses, especially small businesses, felt the regulatory relief immediately.

There had been a growing sense that, whatever their intentions, Washington bureaucrats had been making it harder and harder for entrepreneurs to run their own businesses, but in one of his first actions as president, Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring agencies to repeal two existing regulations before issuing a new one. The administration also ordered the EPA to review the overreaching Waters of the U.S. rule with an eye toward rescinding it.

Whatever doubts West Virginia small-business owners might have had about the direction of the country were addressed by last year’s historic tax relief.

A lot of people seem to think that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will benefit only big corporations, but that’s not true. It’s going to help small businesses, too, and that’s important because small businesses are what drive West Virginia’s economy. Small businesses account for about 99 percent of the state’s employers, and they employ about 50 percent of the state’s private-sector workforce.

Nationwide, actual earnings climbed 11 points from December, according to the latest NFIB Small Business Economic Trends survey. Plans to make capital outlays jumped up two points, and plans to increase inventories gained four points.

NFIB has published its SBET report since 1973. According to its latest report, the Small Business Optimism Index gained two points in January to 106.9 — one of its highest readings in the 45-year history of the survey. NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said, “The record level of enthusiasm for expansion follows a year of record-breaking optimism among small businesses.” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg chalked it up to “the new management in Washington.”


On behalf of our members in West Virginia, I want to thank Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Reps. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., and David McKinley, R-W.Va., for supporting small business by voting for this historic tax legislation.

NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index reached record levels in 2017 as Washington began clearing a path for employers to grow their businesses. That’s good news for Main Street businesses.

Owners have the confidence to invest in their businesses, and when West Virginia’s small businesses succeed, so does the rest of the state.