The economic recovery may be continuing, but small business owners aren't ready to put the rose-colored glasses back on.
According to an exclusive CNNMoney-Manta survey released Tuesday, 28% of small business owners said the economy is the "biggest challenge" they're currently facing, topping issues like sales, regulations and financing.
The survey polled over 1,500 small business owners across the country. Even those experiencing revenue growth are hesitant to test their luck.
"We've done well as a small business, [and] banks are willing to lend us money," said Victoria Aguilar, the founder of a small law and consulting firm. "But is it safe to bring on another employee?"
Aguilar opened the The AR Group in Greenwood Village, Colo., six years ago. Her firm, which employs six people, averages 10% to 20% revenue growth each year. She's wanted to expand her services to include immigration law for more than two years, but is hesitant.
"It's a hard decision. There was a point in time where I wouldn't have been so reluctant," she said. "We're not entirely certain that the customer base is willing to spend money. People are trying to solve their own problems."