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Despite economy, SMBs expect 2014 to be a banner year

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With 2013 going out with a whimper, the specter of Obamacare and federal budgeting hanging over the economy, small business owners still achieved or exceeded their business growth expectations. According to a study released yesterday, December 10 by Rocket Lawyer, not only was 2013 a good year for small businesses, but 80 percent of small business owners believe that 2014 will be even better.

The December 2013 Semi-Annual Small Business Survey, which gauges the overall sentiment and economic outlook for approximately 1,000 U.S.-based small businesses, did find that not all small business owners are entirely optimistic, however. Fifty percent said that economic uncertainty was hindering their optimism about 2014, and 30 percent are worried about the economy as a whole, according to a press release issued by email.

However, because of the number of technology companies successfully making IPOs, as well as the need for more healthcare workers, small business owners believe that the technology industry and healthcare industry have the best opportunities ahead, at 36 percent and 27 percent respectively.

“Small businesses and startups are the key drivers of the economic recovery and their optimism is encouraging,” said Charley Moore, founder and executive chairman of Rocket Lawyer, in the emailed press release. “It’s been a year of innovation, especially in tech and healthcare, so we’re glad that SMBs see opportunity.

And because businesses are exempted for one year from Obamacare requirements, 75 percent of small business owners said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the formal name for Obamacare, did not affect them. Less than half, at 45 percent, plan to enroll in ACA plans, and 40 percent of those polled say it’s because they have fewer than 50 employees and are exempt from Obamacare regulations. For small business, that means hiring: 37 percent plan to hire new employees in 2014, but 40 percent of those will be part-time employees.

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