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Recession Chatter Hits Small Business

In addition to recession concerns from the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, a joint CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey has been released, and 53% of the small businesses surveyed acknowledge that a recession is coming. While this is the first time the survey has asked about small business owner's thoughts concerning a recession, and only 2,200 small businesses were surveyed, there have been cautionary trends over time, and these results show a decline from peak levels in Q3 2018. For small business, the awareness in and of itself is important. However, elevated recession fears are popping up everywhere from consumers to Wall Street to Main Street. In January, 26% of respondents to a CNBC Fed Survey are expecting a recession, a third straight increase. Also in January, of the 10,000 Americans surveyed by SurveyMonkey, 63% believe a recession is likely to hit in the next year. It should come as no surprise that as more survey results come in, the more concern of a recession looms. No one knows when a recession will hit, and however prudent it is for small business to recognize triggers of recessions in order to adjust accordingly, it is perhaps more prudent to recognize that macro and micro business cycles exist in perpetuity. Regardless of the chatter, small business is better served by not lingering on fear of the next recession, but rather to acknowledge that downturns are inevitable, growth and survival measures are often intertwined to the point of no longer being mutually exclusive, and only perpetual robust and resiliency planning will minimize the time a small business spends in any dip.

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