American SMBs remain optimistic about the US economy and business growth despite rising costs and global uncertainty, according to latest international study

  • Business confidence is high with 65% of SMBs reporting that the US economy is going strong and 43% expecting it to improve in the next 12 months
  • Tight cash flow, rising costs, and lack of demand are the top three issues facing small businesses today
  • 42% of SMBs are struggling with cash flow though 59% expect growth in 2020
Atlanta, 8 October 2019 – Tight cash flow is the greatest challenge facing small businesses in the US, according to the latest Global Business Monitor study from global SMB partner, Bibby Financial Services (BFS) and global leader in trade credit insurance Euler Hermes.

Findings of the research, based on a survey of more than 2,300 SMBs in 13 countries across Asia, Europe and North America, show that despite US small businesses being the most optimistic compared to their overseas counterparts, they still face many of the same challenges. Two in five businesses (42%) stated cash flow as their greatest challenge. Rising costs and overheads (39%) and lack of demand (25%) were also cited in the top 3 concerns for 2019.

Despite concerns about the effects of global uncertainty, over half (59%) say they believe their business performance will improve in the next 12 months, and a quarter (25%) believe they will maintain existing growth levels.

Chief Executive Officer at Bibby Financial Services in North America, David Ciccolo, said: 
“For SMBs in the US this is an exciting time. There are challenges, and there is reason to be cautious as the global economy continues to show signs of a slowdown. However, with the US economy performing well, there are real opportunities to thrive and expand.

“Success may depend on leveraging every advantage. Rather than just relying on reinvesting profits, SMBs can focus their growth by increasing their cashflow, by borrowing to invest, whether this is in new technology, staff training, or simply to exploit bulk pricing opportunities. Fortune favors the inventive and the bold.”

Ludovic Subran, Global Chief Economist, Euler Hermes, added: 
“As the risks of a recession rise and global GDP is expected to grow at its slowest pace since 2009 in 2020 (+2.4%), it is all the more important that SMBs have virtuous payment loops to avoid going bust. Global insolvencies are expected to rise by 8% in 2020 for the fourth consecutive year, and one in four bankruptcies for SMBs comes from a non-payment.”

The third BFS Global Business Monitor since 2016 shows American SMBs as the most optimistic about the local economy and their growth potential than businesses in other countries. Ultimately, their optimism and drive to overcome business challenges fuel their plans for investment in areas such as sales and marketing, machinery and equipment and IT.

The Global Business Monitor is available to download at:

8 October 2019

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