News Releases

Back to News Releases

U.S. Small Business Owners Confident in their Business and the U.S. Economy

SunTrust survey finds half of small businesses don't have a growth plan to capitalize on their confidence

May 1, 2019

ATLANTA, May 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The annual Small Business Pulse Survey from SunTrust reveals a strong small business community, with two-thirds of small business decision makers reporting strength in their local economy (68 percent) and the U.S. economy (65 percent). The positive outlook is bolstered by two-thirds of decision makers who report their business is strong (67 percent), that their company's financial well-being is equal to or greater than last year (85 percent), and that they have less work-related stress.

Though they feel positive about their business, only half of small business owners (49 percent) have a clearly stated plan for business growth. Among business owners who do have a growth plan, only one third (33 percent) have shared it with their external business partners and only one quarter (27 percent) have shared their plan with an advisor. This reluctance to create and share a plan is in contrast to the fastest-growing companies in the survey. Fast-growing companies are one-and-a-half times more likely to have a stated growth plan and twice as likely to share their plan.

"Small businesses are a cornerstone of successful communities so we should celebrate their optimism about the economy and their business," said Reggie Davis, head of Business Banking at SunTrust Bank. "By developing a growth plan and discussing it with partners and advisors, an entrepreneur can gather insights that inform decisions, increase their confidence, and create a positive impact on their business, employees and community."

The absence of a plan could be one reason cash shortfalls are common among small businesses. More than one third of small businesses (37 percent) experienced a cash shortfall in the past year, and 75 percent faced variations in their cash flow. Cash flow variations are often driven by seasonality (36 percent), expense fluctuations (28 percent), and the loss or gain of major customers (20 percent).

When faced with a shortfall, small business owners often balance business and personal financial solutions to keep their business on track:

  • 36 percent use personal assets for a cash infusion
  • 26 percent dip into their business cash reserves
  • 26 percent tap a business line of credit
  • 25 percent forgo their salary for the well-being of the business
  • 19 percent take out a personal loan

Cash shortfalls may have significant impacts to the owner and business, including reduced productivity, damage to the owner's credit, slower production and distracted management.

"Monitoring cash flow is critical to the health of a small business and 30 percent of business owners report they need to improve in this area," said Davis. "By discussing a business owner's unique situation, our bankers are able to provide advice, and identify technology and banking solutions that can help a business enhance its cash flow and avoid a cash crisis."

To help small business owners improve their financial well-being, SunTrust has created a Small Business Best Practices Site with additional survey findings, tips and tools for small businesses, and insights that can help generate business growth.

About the Survey
Decision makers from 515 U.S. small businesses with annual revenue between $100,000 and $5 million participated in the SunTrust/Radius Global Market Research survey fielded February 26March 8, 2019. Survey results have a maximum margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points at a 90 percent confidence level.

About SunTrust Banks, Inc.
SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) is a purpose-driven company dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for the people, businesses, and communities it serves. SunTrust leads onUp, a national movement inspiring Americans to build financial confidence. Headquartered in Atlanta, the Company has two business segments: Consumer and Wholesale. Its flagship subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, along with 24-hour digital access. Certain business lines serve consumer, commercial, corporate, and institutional clients nationally. As of March 31, 2019, SunTrust had total assets of $220 billion and total deposits of $162 billion. The Company provides deposit, credit, trust, investment, mortgage, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services. Learn more at

SOURCE SunTrust Banks, Inc.

For further information: Brian Boudreaux, 404-813-0881