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Dallas Fed Poll: Texas Small Businesses Optimistic About 2014, but Still See Some Barriers to Growth

DALLAS—Most small businesses in Texas are optimistic about sales and opportunities in 2014 but see barriers to growth including access to credit, reliability of employees, and government regulations, according to a new poll by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Sixty-six percent of business owners responding to the Dallas Fed’s Texas Small Business Needs Assessment Poll expected overall business conditions to improve, the poll finds. Seventy-one percent expected sales and revenue to increase.

The poll, conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in partnership with the Texas Small Business Development Center Network, asked 750 small business owners from 68 counties across Texas about firm size, performance, financing and employee skill gaps. The majority of businesses sampled were microbusinesses, with one to five employees, and 37 percent were minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs).

“The Dallas Fed conducted this survey to learn more about the needs of small and microbusinesses in our region,” said Alfreda B. Norman, Dallas Fed vice president and community development officer. “They’re powerful economic engines and the jobs they create are vital to our community.”

Top factors affecting respondents’ ability to grow their business were finding the right talent and complying with government regulations, the poll found. However, more than double the percentage of MWBEs reported access to capital as the largest concern in their business growth compared to non-MWBEs (22 percent versus 10 percent).

The “skills gap” for the small businesses surveyed lies most heavily within sales and marketing, interpersonal skills and punctuality/reliability, the poll results showed. These are the skills employers reported needing most, yet having the most difficulty finding.

The survey allowed for an open-ended response about other issues facing small businesses, and the majority pointed to concerns about government regulation. Some businesses cited worries about understanding new health care requirements and how they may impact their companies.

“An emphasis on understanding regulatory burdens and soft-skill development as well as how the Affordable Care Act will impact different organizations may be useful for small business owners as they compete in 2014 and beyond,” the report notes.

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Media contact:
Alexander Johnson
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Phone: (214) 922-5288
Email: alexander.johnson@dal.frb.org

 

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