Last year’s bruising U.S. Presidential election and looming change of White House administrations weren’t enough to hobble the aspirations of American small business owners, according to a survey conducted by Guidant Financial.

The Bellevue-based company, which aims to help business owners land financing to start, buy, or grow a business through avenues such as Small Business Administration loans and IRA 401(k) business funding, surveyed more than 1,000 of its small business customers in all 50 states to gauge the current state of the small business community.

Nationally, small business owners who participated in the survey reported their top challenges were recruiting and retaining employees, the lack of capital and cash flow, and managing their time. Meanwhile, small business owners said they planned to spend their money this year in areas such as expanding their businesses (48 percent), acquiring equipment (35 percent), paying staff (35 percent), marketing and advertising (27 percent), technology expenditures (14 percent) administrative work (9 percent), and education (4 percent).

In Washington state, 52 small business owners participated in the survey and offered the following reasons for opening their businesses: Opportunity presented itself (34.6 percent); dissatisfaction with corporate America (30.8 percent); laid off/job outsourced (21.2 percent); not ready to retire (7.7 percent); and other (5.7 percent). On a scale of 1 to 10, approximately 75 percent of survey participants in Washington state reported their confidence in the economy at 7 or higher.

“The entrepreneurial spirit among the small business community remained solid,” Guidant Financial CEO David Nilssen said in a press release. “Overall, businesses enjoyed increased profitability, and more than half have plans for growth. Today’s entrepreneur contributes to the U.S. economy by creating American jobs, and we expect that to continue in 2017.”

More information about Guidant Financial’s State of Small Business Survey is available on the company’s website.