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Access to Capital Tops List of Concerns for Texas Small Businesses, Says Dallas Fed Survey

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2017

DALLAS—For the first time, access to capital edged out finding the right employees as the biggest challenge facing small-business owners responding to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ annual Texas Small Business Needs Assessment Poll.

Capital concerns were even more acute among minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs), with 24 percent of MWBEs noting access to capital as the most important problem affecting their ability to grow their business, compared with just 15 percent of non-MWBEs. Overall, 20.7 percent of respondents cited access to capital as their top concern. These findings correspond with a recent Dallas Fed Economic Letter detailing the decline of community banks and small-business lending.

“Failing to get enough capital can seriously restrict the growth of a small business, preventing it from expanding and reaching the next stage,” said Emily Ryder Perlmeter, Dallas Fed community development analyst. “This is a concern for all small businesses, but is especially pronounced for minority and women business owners. There is a perception among many minority and women business owners that they may be turned down or face bias in the marketplace—which leads them, in many cases, to not even apply for capital.”

While still a critical issue, finding talent fell to second place, garnering 20.4 percent of responses. Sales and marketing was once again the most sought-after skill for potential employees, followed by interpersonal skills. Punctuality/reliability was cited as the third most desired skill, and at the same time, in a separate set of responses, was ranked as the most difficult to find among potential employees.

The poll, conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in partnership with the Small Business Development Centers of Texas, was conducted during the last three months of 2016 and included responses from 1,358 small-business owners from 101 counties across Texas. The data collected shed light on the challenges, successes and changes experienced by small-business owners and help identify emerging issues, areas of strength and needed improvement in the state’s small-business community.

Additional resources for small businesses are offered by America’s Small Business Development Centers and the Community Development Department of the Dallas Fed. The most recent episode of Access: A Community Development Podcast from the Federal Reserve features a program that is helping established small businesses achieve scale.

For a national perspective on small-business conditions, the 12 Federal Reserve Banks recently released the 2016 Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms. This report examines business conditions and the credit environment from the perspective of over 10,000 small-business owners who have employees.

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Media contact:
Jennifer Chamberlain
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Phone: (214) 922-6748
E-mail: jennifer.chamberlain@dal.frb.org