If companies’ blueprints for expansion are a reliable indicator of their plans to enhance employee benefits needed to recruit and retain workers, then 2017 should be a good year for agents and advisors serving the small-business markets.
The reason for this optimism: the “2017 Small Business Outlook” report, published by Chicago-based Insureon’s Small Business Institute. Insureon, which sells business insurance, said it polled 1,006 small-business owners using Google Surveys.
Related: How benefits brokers can be small-business super heroes
Insureon found that 82 percent of small-business owners plan to grow their companies in 2017. Among the actions to be taken:
58 percent expect to buy new equipment or furniture.
33 percent plan to hire an employee.
23 percent will move to a new location.
30 percent will offer a new service.
34 percent plan to sell a new product.
The report observes, however, differences in growth plans by gender. For example, of the 18 percent of small-business owners who have no growth plans, nearly 7 in 10 (68 percent) are women. That equates to 25 percent of all women business owners who have no growth plans, more than the double the 11 percent of male-owned small businesses in the same camp.
Also noteworthy: For most types of growth (for example, non-service-related), the population density of a business owner’s region (urban, rural or suburban) has no bearing on growth plans. But the survey finds that urban business owners are about 1.7 times more likely than their rural counterparts to begin a new service next year.
Related: Millennial small biz owners: More prepared in 4 key areas
For every dollar a full-time male employee earns, women earn 80 cents on the dollar. A comparable pay gap exists between male- and female-owned businesses, the Insureon survey finds. (Photo: Thinkstock)