Businesses Worry Despite Growth, Dun & Bradstreet Study Says

private capital access index

Small businesses have mixed feelings about 2016, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine University Private Capital Access Index (PDF).

The study found that while 46 percent of small and medium enterprise owners are confident their businesses will grow in 2016, more than half (56 percent) feel the current economy is restricting their growth. It also revealed that economic uncertainty presents hiring challenges for the small and mid-sized businesses.

The study segmented results for businesses with less than $5 million in revenue (small) and those with $5 to 100 million (mid-sized).

Some of the key findings of the survey are:

  • 46 percent of small businesses feel the current business financing environment makes it difficult to hire new employees
  • 35 percent of respondents feel generating new customer leads will be the most significant challenge for businesses in 2016
  • 34 percent of respondents expect their business to perform substantially better in 2016 compared to 2015
  • Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of small and mid-sized businesses expect to increase revenue by 10 percent in 2016
  • Small businesses have maintained an upward trend in accessing capital over the year, with a 5 percent increase in successful bank loan financing (35 percent financing success rate for Q4)
  • Mid-sized businesses are seeing a decline in both demand for capital (-3.8 percent change since Q3) and bank loan access (73 percent success rate, a 17 percent decrease since Q3)

Dr. Craig R. Everett, Director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project said, “Mid-sized businesses struggled with demand more than their small counterparts for the first time in quite a while, which is concerning.”

He also added, “These businesses are saying that they are optimistic about growth, but they do not appear to be making actual plans to grow. We will watch this carefully in early 2016.”

Another key highlight of the survey was the hiring challenges faced by small and mid-sized businesses in the United States. Twenty percent of small and 28 percent of mid-sized businesses said domestic economic uncertainty prevents them from recruiting new employees. Despite this, hiring is expected to increase. Fifty-seven percent of businesses said they plan to add between 1 and 10 employees in the next six months.

Significantly, 94 percent of small businesses do not expect the number of employees in the next six months to decrease.

The Q4 2015 Index results were derived from 2,773 responses collected from participants across the United States.

Worried Business Owner Photo via Shutterstock

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Shubhomita Bose Shubhomita Bose is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers key studies and surveys about the small business market, along with general small business news. She draws on 8 years of experience in copywriting, marketing and communications, having worked extensively on creating content for small and medium sized enterprises.

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