Paychex Survey Says Entrepreneurs Optimistic About Business Outlook, Ability to Find New Customers

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Are you wondering whether now is the right time to start a business? Are customers out there? Is the economy optimistic or pessimistic? According to Paychex and their first ever Business Sentiment Report, the outlook for businesses is more positive than negative.

Paychex regularly conducts polls to analyze the business climate. Their most recent poll can be found here. Paychex polled businesses with 500 or fewer employees regarding issues relating to human resources, finances, and customer relations. In the poll, respondents could answer on a scale of 1 to 100 with 1 being completely pessimistic and 100 being totally optimistic. The overall business outlook was good, except when it comes to finding employees.

Paychex will continue to poll businesses on a trimester basis, with the most recent poll representing 500 randomly selected businesses for Summer 2018. These businesses were polled during the week of June 18 and June 27, 2018. The business outlook overall was 65/100. They felt that they were most optimistic about finding new customers, which was rated 69/100. Other optimistic ratings were about access to capital 62/10, capital investment opportunity 59/100, and the overall economy 60/100.

In the academic world, 60/100 is a D and a below-average score. But in this poll, 60 is a good number. Of course, it is not as high as 100, but it is closer to 100 than to 1, which is why it is considered an optimistic number. In the poll, businesses in the Midwestern and Southern states were more optimistic than in other areas of the country.

On the flip side, employers were not optimistic about finding new talent to fill their empty positions. They rated finding part-time or full-time employees at 31/100. Interestingly, they were notably pessimistic about finding contract or temporary employees. This rating was 16/100. There are ways to become more optimistic about finding new employees through recruitment and other “outside of the box” ideas.

According to the respondents, manufacturing businesses have the most difficulty finding qualified employees. For those companies to find skilled employees, they are turning to the schools that prepare them. They are looking for recent graduates with the skills and they are working with the schools to develop programs to train future graduates.

Some industries may have more success finding new employees, especially the restaurant and hospitality industry. They will be able to use the Shared Tip Law so employees in restaurant kitchens can also be tipped for their hard work. This will make kitchen jobs and other formerly non-tipped restaurant jobs more desirable. This new law does not apply to management and supervisory positions.

If the Business Sentiment Report shows the feelings of business owners, there is real optimism. Other than the trouble with finding hiring candidates, now might just be the time to start a new business and get in on the optimism about the economy, capital investments, and access to capital.

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