Today is perhaps the best time for a woman to own a small business in the United States. Small business owners are more optimistic now than at any point in the past 15 years that this measure has been tracked.

According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup index, small business optimism hit an overall score of +118 in 2018. That is a new record high from the previous high of +114 in 2006.

Two factors are driving optimism among small companies right now: positive financial positions and great cash flow.

Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon said it well recently in an opinion piece,

This truly is a golden age for small business.

Women are starting businesses at record paces and more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women–employing nearly 9 million people. It’s good to know that in this economy female startups can be optimistic about their present financial situation and future prospects.

Surprisingly, the biggest challenges small business owners face are not finding new clients or paying bills, but government policies and hiring/retaining good workers.

Top challenges for small business owners in 2018:

1. Government policies: Taxes, government regulations, government, tariffs/trade war (24%)

2. Hiring: (18%)

3. Economic Issues: Attracting customers, the economy (15%)

3. Financial issues: Stability/cash flow, costs of running business, credit availability, paying bills (15%)

5. Market Issues: Competition, marketing, product improvements (13%)

6. Personal Issues: Being own boss, not enough time (6%)

7. Heathcare: Costs, insurance (3%)

8. The President: (2%)

With a strong economy growing at 4.1 percent last quarter and unemployment so low that there are more unfilled jobs than people to fill them, leaders in Washington and states should turn their attention to other ways that they can provide small business owners with relief.

  • Tax reform 2.0 promises to make small business tax cuts and reforms permanent.

  • Continue the deregulation agenda. Unnecessary and costly regulations hamper growth, but scaling back government regulation in a responsible way allows small businesses to expand.

  • Reform occupational licenses at the state level which add expensive, onerous requirements on men and women looking to work.