Are small-business owners as optimistic as they seem?

Evan Hakalir, a self-described optimist, feels good about the future of his 12-person company, which manufactures children’s clothing. Still, the uncertain political climate nags at him.

“People are so caught up in politics and just waiting with bated breath as to what’s going to happen next, waiting for the next shoe to drop,” Hakalir said. He’s trying not to let his concerns get in the way of operating Andy Evan, which had retail sales of around $12 million last year.

A new report shows many small business owners are in a similar boat: trying to be optimistic but holding off on bold decisions in an ever-shifting political and social landscape.

The majority of small business owners said they expect their financial condition to improve over the next six months, according to Capital One’s Small Business Growth Index, released Tuesday. Despite this widespread optimism, about two-thirds of small business owners said they had no plans to hire, increase marketing spending, or invest in new technologies in the near future. Among the 500 entrepreneurs surveyed for the index over the last two months, half said they expect their business to be impacted by tax changes, 22 percent by minimum wage increases, and 9 percent by immigration reform.

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