Small Business Index Survey
Florida’s small businesses are essential to the recovery of the state’s economy. Small businesses now account for three-quarters of all new jobs in this country, and these business owners embody the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and individual initiative. It is critical the Florida Chamber of Commerce understands what issues are most important to small businesses.
The Small Business Index Survey tracks trends and issues affecting small businesses in Florida. Small business owners are surveyed quarterly in order to monitor small business trends and identify emerging issues that may be addressed by the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council.
2013 Quarter 4 Survey Results
Conducted: September 9-27, 2013
Florida Small Business Index: 2013 Quarter 3 Results (PDF Document)
With Florida’s economic recovery continuing to outpace the nation, a tight credit market continues to hinder small businesses from taking advantage of improving economic conditions.
For the second consecutive quarter, the Florida Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Small Business Index Survey shows that 31 percent of respondents identify access to capital as the single most important issue facing their businesses – a six percent increase from the previous quarter. Economic uncertainty followed a close second, with 28 percent citing it as the most important issue.
“While Florida’s economy is moving in the right direction, small businesses continue to feel pressure from tight credit markets,” said Todd Kocourek, member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. “For the second consecutive quarter, nearly half of small businesses tell us that they are not able to obtain financing and that they expect this pattern to hold in the near future.”
Forty-one percent of respondents said they were not able to obtain financing in the past six months and 46 percent said they expect financing to be more difficult to obtain in the near future – both increases from the prior quarter’s survey results. This increase indicates that while more small business owners are in the market to obtain financing, presumably for business expansion due to an improving economy, more are being turned down.
According to the survey, 37 percent of small businesses believe they are better off today than six months ago – a decrease from 42 percent in July 2013. Regarding hiring, 29 percent of employers plan to hire employees during the next six months – up one percentage point from July.
In the sales category, 36 percent are reporting higher sales compared to the same period last year, and 56 percent believe the economy will improve over the next year, while 65 percent believe it will improve over the next three years.
Additional findings from the Florida Chamber’s Quarterly Small Business Index Survey:
- Better Off: 37 percent believe their business is better off than six months ago – DOWN five percentage points from last quarter,
- Worse Off: 20 percent believe their business is worse off today than six months ago – UP two percentage points from July 2013,
- Economic Outlook:
- 56 percent of small business owners expect the economy to improve during the next year, DOWN from 61 percent in July,
- 65 percent expect the economy to improve during the next three years, DOWN from 72 percent last quarter,
- 22 percent believe the economy will weaken over the next year and 20 percent expect the economy will weaken over the next three years, both UP from 18 percent July,
- 50 percent expect company sales to increase over the next three months, and 68 percent expect their sales to increase over the next year – compared to only 12 percent and 10 percent expecting sales to decrease over each time period respectively.
- 29 percent of employers plan to hire employees during the next six months – UP from 28 percent in July, 2013,
- 39 percent identified lack of sales as an obstacle preventing them from hiring, while 23 percent say economic uncertainty is keeping them from hiring new employees,
- Economic Uncertainty – Regulations: 57 percent are worried or very worried that regulations, restrictions and taxes will negatively impact their ability to do business compared to 40 percent who are not very worried or not worried at all.
The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically September 9 through September 27, 2013 and received 594 unique responses.