I've been thinking for some time about the idea of compiling various small business survey results to present an overall picture of what is happening in the world of small business.
Finally I have moved from thought to action so I hope you find these snippets of results interesting and thought-provoking.
There is no doubt things are tough out there for many small businesses so it is no wonder many have cut back sharply on their own spending.
I've given the source of the survey so you can search for more in depth information if something particularly hits the spot.
Discover Financial Services' Small Business Watch February survey found that half of small business owners said they had cash-flow issues in the past 90 days. Nor are things getting better. Nearly 40 percent think things will get worse in the next six months.
University of Maryland and Web services company Network Solutions report 46 percent of business owners have managed their cash flow issues by cutting back on their own pay.
Management consultant George S. May International surveyed 713 small business owners and found 20% of respondents had tapped into their 401(k)s [that's a retirement savings plan in the United States] for living expenses.
41% had not taken a salary in 2009 to keep their businesses going.
27% of respondents indicated they do not have the financial resources to weather the next quarter.
80% give their business a nine-month or less lifespan if economic conditions do not improve.
52% of business owners have suffered health problems — both physically and mentally — because of the recession and performance worries.
The latest National Federation of Independent Business survey shows 51% of small-business owners said the lack of sales was their biggest challenge.
21% said the unpredictability of business conditions was the biggest problem.
Only 8% were held back by the difficulties of getting a loan. Part of the cause of difficulties getting finance has been the fall in house prices reducing the collateral available for security.
The NFIB survey found one-third of business owners who borrowed money either took out a mortgage on their home or pledged their home as collateral.
Another recent NFIB survey found 31 % of respondents said the single most important problem facing small businesses is “poor sales.” “Taxes” were second at 22% and “Government Regulations and Red Tape” in third place at 13% making the U.S. government the biggest problem.
No surprises that a study by Accountz showed 68% of small business owners are baffled by tax returns, with 22% having missed deadlines purely due to the complexity of the process.
It seems to me that the tax complexity is good for accountants but bad for small business and I'd love to see things getting simpler rather than adding complexity on top of complexity.
Come the UK election? Maybe.
78% of small and medium businesses In Australia are planning to increase salaries over the next 12 months, a new Grant Thornton International business report has revealed.
Even better, 23% of SMEs intend to increase salaries above the level of inflation during 2010.
It's good to see employees being rewarded for being flexible during the recession.
A survey by the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute predicts that small businesses owned by women will create a majority of jobs over the next nine years.
It forecasts women-owned companies will create up to 5.5 million of the 9.7 million jobs small businesses expected to be creates over the next eight years in the U.S.
The survey found women business owners focus more on customers, are more willing to take advice and are less likely to be strict, "top-down" managers.
The survey also found women-owned businesses are more likely to be self-funded and less dependent on banks for financing.
Men, what do you have to say about this?