Economy Update May 2016

Economy Update May 2016

The Economy Committee, in partnership with Clayton State, has completed a small business survey.  They survey was targeted to small businesses not affiliated with a franchise or branch business model.  Thirty-two surveys were completed.

For those businesses completing the survey, the average number of full-time employees was 9.5 with two part-time employees and one seasonal employee.   More than half financed their businesses from savings not intended for retirement and more than half started their business since 2000.  About one-third of the businesses responding described their business as mature and 40 percent consider their business in the growth stage.

The businesses participating in the survey ran the gambit on type of business, including construction, transportation, finance, insurance, real estate, accommodations, professional services and healthcare.  No one category stands out.

Business strategy was the number one skill respondents wish they’d had when they started or took over the business, followed by sales and marketing.  When asked what skills their employees needed, customer service and communications tied for first place followed by interpersonal skills and work ethic.

Nearly 100 percent of the respondents say they have a website and use e-mail to conduct business. Nearly 63 percent use social media to promote their business.

When asked what in their business needed improvement, marketing received nearly double the responses as second-place items sales and capitalization.  Location and operations were features most cited as “excellent” aspects of their business.  Technology was mentioned the most as being “adequate.”

Of the businesses responding, nearly 50 percent have a Fayette County market.  About one-third of the respondents have international markets.  Of those that do business internationally, Europe was the market mentioned most frequently with North America-non U.S. mentioned second most-frequently.

One of the most positive pieces of data is that 80 percent of the respondents plan to add employees in the next two years. About 58 percent plan to expand advertising and promotions and/or invest in new equipment.

When asked what the single biggest obstacle was for their business, sales and competition were the top vote getters.

Respondents also provided a variety of suggestions on programs and services to help businesses.  The Economy committee’s next step is to dig deeper into the responses though focus groups.