Business owners in Long Island, N.Y., are growing more optimistic about local and national economies and better financial health, according to a new survey from Bethpage Federal Credit Union.
The $5 billion credit union in Bethpage, N.Y., has released findings from its second annual Bethpage Long Island Small Business Survey, which collected data from 603 small businesses with annual revenues up to $10 million.
More small business executives think the economic climate is improving from a year ago, according to the survey conducted by the Stony Brook University Center for Survey Research.
Twenty-seven percent rated the national economy as very or fairly good, up from less than 10% last year, and almost a third (32%) rate the Long Island economy as very or fairly good, up from 19% in 2011.
Fifty percent of executives surveyed said they are very or somewhat optimistic about Long Island economic business conditions over the next 12 months, which is a substantial increase from 37% who reported last year. As a result, 64% of business executives rated their current financial status as positive, up from 52% last year.
“The small business community is beginning to experience a renewed spirit of entrepreneurship, helping to increase overall consumer confidence on Long Island,” said Kirk Kordeleski, Bethpage president/CEO.
Roughly a quarter of business owners said they are planning to add staff in 2013, an improvement from last year when only 16% expected to increase the number of their employees, according to the survey. Twenty-five percent of small business executives think the next six months would be a good time to expand substantially, an increase from 17% a year ago.
Looking at women-owned businesses vs. men-owned businesses, the survey revealed some intriguing differences. Sixty-seven percent of women owners with businesses with revenues between $500,000 and $10 million said they were more positive about the effect of ownership on their marriage and family life compared to 48% of men owners.
More female business owners have another family member working in their business than male business owners (59% vs. 44%), the data showed.
The survey also showed that women were more likely than men (44% vs. 37%) to hire outside companies to handle business functions, a significant increase from last year when only 23% of women and 20% of men said the same.
Bethpage, which has been a strong advocate for raising the member business lending cap from 12.25% to 27.5% of assets, said the survey’s findings are key to meeting a unique set of needs.
“With this, it’s important that we support and address the concerns of the small business community in every way we can, as they are the impetus for Long Island’s economic growth,” Kordeleski said. “This means giving small businesses more access to capital. For Bethpage, it means funding loans to support growth, aid in expansion and stimulate the economy.”