The Discover Small Business Watch is "a monthly index measuring the relative economic confidence of US small business owners who employ less than 5 employees." Discover has been doing this for over a year now, and in addition to recurring questions about small business confidence, they also ask other questions from both small business owners and consumers in general.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk with the Director of Discover's small business card unit, Sastry Rachakonda, about their most recent survey. I was curious if their surveys were detecting any impact of the sub-prime mortgage loan problems on small businesses liquidity and cash flow. Sastry pointed out that 46% of the September survey respondents said they had experienced cash flow issues over the last 90 days - a substantial increase over August's 41% and July's 35% .
Their September survey also found that one third of the respondents said they extend credit to their customers, and 64% of those extending credit said their customers whoe use credit had delayed payments or had ask to delay a payment in the past three months.
While just one set of data, it does indicate that small businesses may be feeling the impacts of sub-prime mortgage sector.
Thanks Sastry for taking the time to talk.