Survey: Small Business Owners Optimistic of Local Economy
Bank of America has just released its -inaugural semiannual study of the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country.
So, in honor of National Small Business Week, I thought it would be apropos to share the results with you.
It will come as no surprise to small business owners in Moore County that their counterparts throughout the nation are under a lot of stress and have made tradeoffs across the board to pursue their business dreams.
The study showed that small business owners find managing the ongoing success of their business to be twice as stressful as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse/partner; nearly three times as stressful as raising children; and four times as stressful as managing their personal finances.
To keep up with business demands, respondents routinely give up personal time, physical fitness and other personal priorities.
Thirty-eight percent of small business owners also juggle full- or part-time jobs while running their enterprises.
In my opinion, finding the right balance between your professional life and your personal life is the biggest challenge when running your own business.
Any entrepreneur knows that your business is always in the back of your mind even when you're not at the office. There is always something else that needs to be done.
But entrepreneurs are also eternal optimists, and the study found that small business owners have more confidence in their local economy than the national economy.
When asked about the next 12 months, 42 percent of respondents expected their local economic conditions to improve, compared with 35 percent who expect the national economy to improve.
The national issues that concern small business owners the most include the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders, commodities prices, the recovery of consumer spending, and health care costs. Credit availability ranked near the bottom, along with global stock market unrest and the trade deficit.
The independent character that typifies an entrepreneur can also be found in the fact that 53 percent of respondents believe that their own decisions, rather than the overall health of the economy, are more likely to influence business outcomes.
Like their larger counterparts, small business owners are concerned about retaining talent. Twenty-two percent say finding employees with the right skills is their top challenge.
Narrowing that skills gap was one of the main themes at an education-business roundtable hosted earlier this month by the Moore County Chamber of Commerce and the Sandhills Regional Education Consortium.
Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Chamber, perhaps best summed up the discussion when he said: "We can't have a vibrant economy without a strong public school system to develop the work force of the future."
Finally, the study found that 47 percent of respondents believe that increasing marketing to acquire new customers is the most important action they plan to take to generate additional revenue.
The most effective marketing method, of course, is word-of-mouth and customer referrals.
Here's hoping that your National Small Business Week is a good one - especially at the cash register.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the pilot.com.
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