Small and Midsize Business Confidence Posts Small Gain as Profit Expectations Improve

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Small and midsize business (SMB) CEO confidence saw a slight uptick in the third quarter, accompanied by a slight increase in CEO revenue and profit expectations, according to the latest CEO Confidence Index from Vistage, a CEO coaching and peer advisory organization.

Vistage’s CEO Confidence Index, which has measured SMB leaders’ sentiment on a variety of economic and business factors on a quarterly basis since 2003, rose modestly to 73.4 in Q3 2022, up from 69 in Q2 2022. This is still down from 84.3 in Q1 2022 and 97.1 in Q3 2021. Meanwhile, 54% anticipate revenue increases (up from 52%) and 38% (up from 32%) expect profitability to improve in the year ahead.

“CEOs are accepting disruption as a part of their new reality and adjusting accordingly,” said Joe Galvin, Vistage’s chief research officer. “While pessimism about future economic conditions has abated among CEOs, concerns about rising inflation and interest rates are holding confidence at levels lower than last year.”

Survey highlights include: Economic gains fall short of prior year

  • 12% of SMB CEOs believe the overall economic conditions in the U.S. will improve in the next year (up from 8% in Q2 2022, but below last year’s 31%). More significantly, the proportion who believe the economy will worsen dropped from 64% to 50%.
  • 16% feel economic conditions have improved over the last year, well below the 56% recorded last year.
  • 67% plan to increase prices for their products or services in the next year.

Profit expectations improve

  • 38% of SMB CEOs anticipate higher profits in the year ahead (up from 32% in Q2 2022, but below last year’s 50%).
  • 54% expect increased revenues in the year ahead (up from 52% in Q2 2022 and down from 68% in Q1 2022).
  • When asked what factors will contribute to the revenues in the coming year:
    • 61% of CEOs report rising customer demand
    • 61% report price increases
    • 47% report market expansion
    • 38% report new products or services
    • 38% report increased productivity

Continued decreases in planned investments, as interest rates rise

  • 35% of SMB CEOs plan to increase their investments in plants and equipment in the next 12 months (down from 38% last quarter and 45% two quarters ago).
  • When asked about which effects of inflation are impacting their business:
    • 91% said increased wages and compensation
    • 80% cited increased prices from vendors
    • 63% reported higher costs for raw materials
    • 56% experienced higher energy prices

Hiring remains a challenge for leaders

  • 62% of SMB CEOs report hiring challenges are impacting their ability to operate at full capacity.
  • For those having trouble hiring:
    • 82% have already boosted wages
    • 73% have developed their existing workforce
    • 65% have refined their recruitment strategies
    • 64% have offered flexible hours/schedules
    • 59% are allowing remote work options

See the full results for the Q3 2022 Vistage CEO Confidence Index.

About the Vistage CEO Confidence Index

The Vistage CEO Confidence Index, established in 2003, is a quarterly survey of small to midsize business CEOs, presidents, and business owners about the U.S. economy. The Q3 2022 Vistage CEO Confidence Index includes responses from 1,522 U.S. CEOs, surveyed between September 7 and 14, 2022. Since its establishment in 2003, the Index has proven to be a reliable indicator for changes in GDP and employment, two to three quarters hence.

About Vistage Worldwide, Inc.
Vistage is the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize businesses. For more than 65 years, we’ve been helping CEOs, business owners and key executives solve their greatest challenges through confidential peer groups and one-to-one executive coaching sessions. Today, more than 45,000 members in 35 countries rely on Vistage to help make better decisions for their companies, families and communities. The results prove it: Vistage CEO members grew their annual revenue on average by 4.6% in 2020, while nonmembers with comparable small and midsize businesses saw revenue decrease by 4.7%, according to a study of Dun & Bradstreet data. Learn more at

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