Glass Half Full: Small Business Owners Optimistic About 2024 Despite Challenging Business, Lending Environment

While inflationary pressures and tightening credit markets are straining small businesses, 75% are optimistic about 2024 and 62% expect to increase profits

In a new ad released today, a small business owner shares how rising interest rates forced her to halt expansion plans and how a proposed Federal Reserve rule would make it worse

Despite 71% reporting inflationary pressures increasing over the past three months, and 77% saying they are concerned about their ability to access capital, 75% of small business owners report they are optimistic about their financial trajectory in 2024. Furthermore, 57% expect to create jobs this year, 62% are projecting an increase in profits before the year concludes and 28% rate the economy as good or excellent – a 9% increase compared to three months prior. These findings, showing concern about current economic headwinds alongside optimism for the future, are among the key findings of a survey of small business owners released today by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices.

“While Wall Street is buzzing with the stock market hitting new highs, small businesses on Main Street are trying to keep our heads above water with persistent inflationary pressures, high interest rates and a lack of access to working capital,” said Liz Field, founder and owner of The Cheesecakery in Metro Cincinnati, Ohio. “Despite these challenges and proposed federal policy that could make matters worse, small business owners continue to demonstrate resiliency with an optimistic outlook for 2024.”

One such proposed policy that would further squeeze small businesses is the Federal Reserve’s proposed Basel III Endgame, which would increase the capital holding requirements for larger banks, including regional banks, which small business owners depend upon for lending. Following the January 16th closure of the Federal Reserve’s comment period on the proposed Basel III Endgame rule, small businesses continue to voice concern about their struggles to access affordable capital, like a business loan or a line of credit:

  • If access to capital continues to tighten – which the Federal Reserve acknowledges will happen if the proposed Basel III Endgame were enacted as proposed – 86% say it will negatively impact their growth forecast.
    • Businesses reporting their growth forecast would be adversely impacted said they might be forced to take actions such as: 62% halting expansion plans, 43% laying off workers, 38% ending strategic investments, and 21% closing their business.
  • Given current interest rates, just 32% believe they can afford to take out a loan.
  • Of respondents who applied for a loan in the past year (35%), 79% found it difficult to access affordable capital and only 40% received all of the funding they requested.
  • In a sign of the desperation small business owners are feeling surrounding accessing capital, 28% of loan applicants said they have taken out a loan or line of credit with payment terms they felt were predatory.

In a new ad released today, Field shares how the current difficult lending environment has forced her to halt her small business expansion plans.

“As interest rates increased, the payments on my loan to expand my business have almost doubled, forcing me to halt my growth plans,” Field said. “Unfortunately, the capital crunch I am facing is not unique to my business, and I fear the squeeze on small business will only worsen if the Federal Reserve’s proposed Basel III Endgame is enacted.”

The nationwide survey of 1,459 small business owners was taken January 15-21, 2024. Respondents came from 48 U.S. States, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. For more information on the survey, please visit:

About 10,000 Small Businesses Voices

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices, which in April marked its three-year anniversary, builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and organizes program participants to advocate for policies that matter to them. Learn more at

About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing a comprehensive business education program and access to capital and business support services. To date, 10,000 Small Businesses has served over 14,000 small businesses across the United States. The program has reached businesses from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Learn more at

About Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global financial institution that delivers a broad range of financial services to a large and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.


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