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Business Observer Friday, May 13, 2022 6 months ago

Survey: Small business confidence is high in the Sunshine State

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Floridians are happy with the state's business climate.

Despite the onslaught of challenges, from inflation to political unrest to supply chain snarls, Florida small business owners remain an optimistic bunch.

That’s the word from the eighth annual First Citizens Bank Small Business Forecast, which polls businesses in California, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The survey found Sunshine State entrepreneurs posted the highest increase in perceived business success over the past 12 months, with 79% claiming a positive year. That’s up 25% over last year’s survey.

Florida also came in first on the question of business climate, and if business owners believe their state is a great place to start a small business. A strong majority, 85%, believe that in Florida. California, which often scores poorly in business climate surveys, was last in that category, at 61%, the survey found. Wisconsin (76%), South Carolina (76%) and North Carolina (75%) were in the middle of California and Florida. California also owns the bottom spot on the survey in having confidence in economic conditions for the next 12 months, with 45% having low optimism.  

Overall, the survey found more than two-thirds, 67%, of business owners described their company as being successful in the past year — up 8% year-over-year. The factors contributing to businesses’ success, the survey found, include COVID-19’s impact on increasing demand for certain types of products and services (33%), fewer competitors (28%), increasing consumer comfort with technology (25%) and an increased desire to “buy American” (23%).

“Running a small business can be an adventure,” Doug Sprecher, executive director of sales strategy at Raleigh, North Carolina-based First Citizens Bank, says in the statement. The last several years have compounded the difficulty with new challenges, but we’ve also seen new opportunities arise. While there are many factors that will continue to create uncertainty for small business owners, they’re focused on controlling what they can and using their business aptitude to guide them through this next chapter.”

Other survey results include:

  • Despite more small businesses planning for expansions, only 35% plan to do so by securing external funding sources.
  • While uncertainty surrounding the pandemic remains among the top concerns facing businesses, it has decreased from 52% in 2021 to 39% in 2022.
  • Of those planning to grow or expand their business in the year ahead, the majority plan to do so through adding new products and services (45%), hiring more employees (42%) or increasing their marketing/advertising budget (40%).

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