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October Toolkit Poll Results: What Scares You?

Filed under Running A Business.

Small business owners who visit the BizFilings Business Owner’s Toolkit website say they are very pessimistic about the state of the overall national economy, according to a recent survey (What Scares You as a Small Business Owner?) conducted in October on bizfilings.com/toolkit.

Business owners were asked to rate the current state of the national economy as well as the state of their own business’s financial situation. Not surprisingly, most viewed the current national economic trends as negative, with prospects for their own businesses split about 50-50.

Asked to select from choices ranging from Bad, Poor, Neutral, Good and Great, more than 50 percent of respondents rated the current national economy as “Poor,” with another 30 percent calling it “Bad.” Fewer than 5 percent rated economic conditions as “Good,” with the rest giving it a “Neutral” rating.  More than 66 percent saw the trends as getting “Worse,” with the other third saying conditions are getting “Better.”

Among the issues of greatest concern, “Debt” was cited by half of the respondents. “Government Spending, “Taxes” and “Government Regulation” were the next three worrisome issues, with more than a third of all respondents choosing each of these concerns. “Finding/Retaining Qualified Workers” was the least chosen issue (less than 5 percent), as you would imagine, given the current unemployment situation nationally.

When asked about their own company’s prospects, 36.6 percent rated the situation as “Neutral,” with another 36 percent calling it “Bad” or “Poor.” About one-fourth of respondents say prospects are “Good.” The anticipated trends for these companies were evenly split, with half saying it is getting “Better” and the other half saying it is getting “Worse.” Of the particular challenges they are facing, most cited concerns over rapidly rising health care costs, access to new capital, and worries about finding customers (whether they are individuals or other businesses).

Most respondents were heavily concentrated in the Personal Services and Construction/Trade industries, although each industry segment we asked about was represented in the final results. Most had 1-5 employees, and almost another third had 6 or more employees. This survey was offered to visitors of BizFilings Business Owner’s Toolkit and to subscribers of our monthly newsletter, so it was not a scientific survey, as respondents were self-selected.

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