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Dallas Small Business Survey Results

If you have a chance to check out the latest Texas Small Business Needs Assessment Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank I would highly suggest it. Especially if you are working with Small Businesses. Some of the data collected may surprise you. While we are all trained to believe that Capital Investment is the main issue for any small business this survey shows that actually here in Dallas (as well as in Houston, and Austin) finding talent is a much greater concern for small businesses. Even more surprising is the type of talent they are seeking.

The poll shows that the number one concern for small business in Texas today is finding reliable trustworthy talent with good interpersonal skills, professional manner, and experience with marketing. This might be unexpected to those who don’t converse with many small business owners regarding their daily operational challenges. When they are referring to an inability to hire needed employees they aren’t looking for super talented geniuses, but just dependability and professionalism. (Side note: if you are looking for a job with a small start-up these are the skills they are looking for, hint, hint.) To me this means they are looking for people they can rely on to do tasks well and unsupervised, while representing the company as professionally as possible. It also implies that they are spending a great deal of time babysitting the behavior and efficiency of their employees, which is taking away from them being able to actively grow their business.

Perhaps less surprisingly is that most of the businesses survey are still getting their capital from traditional resources such as personal savings, credit cards, business revenues, bank loans, and lines of credit with very few being financed through equity backing. It also shows a large disparity between minority and women owned business (MWBE) and Non-MWBE’s in their access and use of equity based financing. This gap may be due to many things including ability to get equity financing, access to equity financing, or even exposure and knowledge of equity financing. I would like to see this change. Especially with new tools like crowdfunding sites that are now available to small businesses here in Texas thanks to the new Intra State SEC exemptions that help level the playing field. I would like to see more business take advantage of this great tool.

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