US SMEs Bullish on the Economy and Business Outlook

ATLANTA, September 21, 2017

  • Two-thirds have positive view of U.S. economy, 63 percent expect higher sales over next twelve months, only 7 percent anticipate sales decline
  • Government regulation and rising costs/overhead cited as biggest challenges
  • Most focus on domestic expansion, only 3 percent see exports as best growth opportunity

Though concerned about the domestic political situation, U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are bullish about the current state of the US economy and the outlook for business over the next 12 months, according to the latest Global Business Monitor report, an annual survey of SMEs undertaken by cross-border financing provider, Bibby Financial Services (BFS).

The study surveyed SME owners and decision makers in the U.S., Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore and the UK.

Two-thirds (67%) of U.S. respondents describe the current U.S. economic performance as positive, up significantly from 50 percent in 2016. Three quarters expect positive performance to continue (35%) or improve further (39%) over the next 12 months. That upbeat assessment is reflected in favorable sales expectations – 63 percent of SMEs expect sales to grow over the next 12 months while only 7 percent anticipate a sales decline.

U.S. SMEs cite government regulation and rising overhead/costs as the biggest current and future business challenges while respondents were evenly split between those who believe that, overall, government policies are favorable (44%) or unfavorable (45%) to their businesses.

Ian Watson, CEO North America, Bibby Financial Services said: “In the U.S., our survey results find increasing optimism about the US economy on the part of many SMEs, perhaps stemming in part from the new Trump Administration’s emphasis on boosting American business and jobs, tempered by concerns about an uncertain political environment and the continued impact on their businesses of the regulatory burden and rising costs.”

Amid heightened political discourse on protectionism and the impact of international trade, the survey found the U.S. SMEs are heavily focused on the domestic market. Fewer than one in five of the surveyed business owners currently export or import and only three percent see export markets as their best untapped business opportunity. One quarter (25%) see government regulation and red tape as the greatest obstacle to international trade.

Watson added: “Given the sheer size and breadth of the domestic market, U.S. SMEs have historically been less focused or reliant on international trade than their counterparts in some other markets. While that domestic orientation is understandable, particularly given the relatively strong U.S. economic performance, U.S. SMEs should consider whether they may be leaving growth opportunities on the table by taking a step back on aggressively engaging international trade despite the challenges.”


About Bibby Financial Services

Bibby Financial Services is a leading independent financial services partner to more than 10,250 businesses worldwide providing more than $1.25 billion in funding annually and handling $11.6 billion in annual client turnover globally.  With over 44 operations in 13 countries spanning Europe, North America and Asia, we provide asset-based lending and factoring solutions to help businesses grow in domestic and international markets. Established in 2001, Bibby Financial Services North America has seven offices in the U.S. and Canada that support businesses in virtually any industry. We hold memberships in the Commercial Finance Association, the International Factoring Association, and the American Finance Association.  Bibby Financial Services is part of Bibby Line Group (BLG), a diverse and forward-looking family business with over 200 years’ experience of providing personal, responsive and flexible customer solutions.  To find out more about Bibby USA and Bibby Canada, please visit or


The Global Business Monitor is an international survey of small and medium sized businesses across the U.S., Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, France, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Respondent businesses have up to 250 employees and operate in wholesale / retail, manufacturing, construction, transport, and services sectors.

Research was conducted throughout June and July 2017 by Critical Research and 1,655 telephone interviews were undertaken. 

21 September 2017

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