Survey says smaller government key to helping small business.
Small business owners in this economy have a lot to worry about, and a lot to complain about. Regulatory burdens, however, topped the list of small business challenges in a recent Gallup poll.
Twenty-two percent of respondents cited “complying with government regulations” as the most important problem facing small businesses today, followed by “consumer confidence” at 15 percent and “lack of consumer demand” at 12 percent.
“There is always a debate to be had and a balance to be struck between the public benefits associated with government regulations and the cost of those regulations on business,” said Dennis Jacobe, chief economist at Gallup. “While regulatory change can have a big impact on individual companies and industries, most often it does not have a major impact on the overall U.S. economy. However, these are not normal economic times, and small-business owners seem to feel government regulations are making their difficult operating environment even more challenging.”
As they look to 2012, more than one third (36 percent) of small business owners said they are very or moderately worried about going out of business. A similar number (37 percent) are worried about not being able to compete with large or global competitors. The ability to hire the number of employees they need is a concern for 36 percent of respondents, while 32 percent are concerned about meeting payroll and 30 percent are worried about staff reductions.
“Growth in sales” (15 percent) was most often cited by respondents when asked what they need in order for their business to thrive in 2012. “Job creation” was the next most common response at 14 percent, followed by “fewer government regulations” at 12 percent. An “improved economy” came in at number four, with 8 percent.
Job creation is getting a lot of attention these days by politicians on both sides. When asked what would motivate them to hire new employees in 2012, 27 percent of small business owners in the Gallup survey said an increase in revenue or sales. Twenty percent are waiting until the economy improves and 17 percent said they would hire to support growth or expansion plans.
Results for the total dataset are based on telephone interviews with 604 small-business owners, conducted Oct. 3-6. For results based on the total sample of small-business owners, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points with 95 percent confidence.