Regional Small Businesses are planning to grow based on the responses we received to the 2016 State of Small Business survey compiled earlier this year.
Growth, whether its short term or long term, is on the minds of 85% of respondents. Over 80% plan to increase revenue this year and almost 50% plan to decrease their debt.
Growth is also reflected in the increased demand for employees and contractors. Over 40% plan to increase their number of employees and almost 30% plan to hire more contractors. Some of these jobs may come with better benefits with almost 30% planning to increase benefits for employees.
Some of the positive feelings may be due to the fact that the majority believe that consumer demand and access to customers is better than it was in 2014. Small businesses also report that they are being paid on time more often.
Over the next year the positive outlook has the majority of small businesses planning to maintain or increase their spending on materials and equipment. They also expect to maintain their spending or spend more on insurance, facilities and marketing. This is a good sign for companies that provide products and services to small business.
On the downside of all of this spending is that small businesses feel like the biggest challenge facing the small business community is the cost of operating and promoting a business. The other top challenges are competition and lack of accessible funding. The cost of doing business and lack of accessible funding may put a damper on some of the plans for growth.
Over the past year, small businesses have been turning to personal savings, credit cards, and family and friends for outside funding. Fewer have been able to attain outside funding from traditional and SBA backed loans, angel investors, and rewards based crowdfunding like Kickstarter. None of our respondents had utilized venture capital, equity based crowdfunding, debt-based crowdfunding or government grants.
When faced with the question of what needs to be done to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in the region, there was a common theme among some respondents that they needed champions to make small business a priority in the greater business community. Other top themes were to reduce costs and increase access to funding, training, and mentoring.
The 2016 State of Small Business Survey is a non-scientific survey that received over 125 responses from small business owners and supporters in the Pikes Peak region. The 2016 survey provides a starting point for querying the local small business community and provides some insight into possible trends within the region. More data can be found on the following pages: