2012 Public Affairs Pulse Survey Shows Favorable Opinion of Small Business

It’s election time and that means opinion polls aplenty—most of them focusing on the negative. But one recent poll found something to smile about in America’s opinion of business in general, and small business in particular.


A whopping 88 percent of Americans in the latest 2012 Public Affairs Pulse Survey (PDF) have a favorable opinion of small business.

That far outpaces the two-thirds (67 percent) who have a positive view of big companies—and it’s more than double the 41 percent of Americans who have a favorable view of the federal government.

Of course, respondents’ opinions of big business weren’t all positive. Three-fourths say too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few large companies, and nearly two-thirds say big corporations make too much profit.

Americans’ preference for small businesses has grown. Sixty-eight percent say they would rather do business with a small local company than a bigger one offering lower prices. And when asked which has been most important to the economic well-being of the middle class in the last 50 years, 51 percent choose small businesses—vastly outstripping labor unions (19 percent), major companies (17 percent) and the government (11 percent).

How can your small business benefit from this groundswell of support?

Here are some ideas:

  • Be proud to be small. For decades, small businesses tried to appear big, but these days, playing up the fact that you’re small is a better marketing strategy. Put a personal face on your business’s website, marketing materials and social media. Let customers get to know who’s behind the business.
  • Be socially responsible. Some 72 percent of Americans surveyed say they would like to see businesses help provide community services such as food banks. Choose a cause that makes sense for your business and your customer base, and get involved.
  • Offer health insurance. Another 68 percent of those surveyed say they would like business to help improve health care. The Affordable Care Act provides tax breaks that many businesses can take advantage of for offering health insurance for employees.
  • Partner up. Unite with other small businesses in your community to promote the idea of shopping local. Hold events that involve all the businesses in your area, such as a sidewalk sale night or “taste of” local restaurants. Work with your chamber of commerce and local officials to see how you can grow local small business—and your own sales.

Are you feeling America’s love for small business?

Election Photo via Shutterstock

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.