Discover Card Survey Reveals Little Stimulus Money Reaching Small Businesses
More than two out of three small business owners see no direct benefit from government stimulus money, according to a recent survey commissioned by Discover Card. The February edition of the Discover Small Business Watch reveals that only 10% of respondents enjoyed a financial boost thanks to Washington funds, while 17% of respondents told researchers that stimulus programs actually hurt their businesses.

Credit cards remain a more likely source of short-term small business funding than small business loans, according to most respondents. Despite media buzz about government promotion of community lending programs, only about one in ten small business owners reported having applied for an SBA-backed loan. 61% of respondents admitted that they would probably not apply for an additional SBA loan, even if looser lending criteria made those loans easier to get.

Discover's researchers also found a gap between small and medium businesses, with companies employing less than five people reporting many significant differences in opinions, trends, and beliefs about the economy. Overall, slightly fewer small business owners reported experiencing cash flow problems, compared with previous months.

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.