Last week, Hillary Clinton participated in a widely-covered photo op with Iowa small business owners. She, and her fellow Presidential hopefuls, would have benefited from a read of a new report from the University of Northern Iowa’s Center on Business Growth and Innovation. The 2015 Iowa Small Business Report reports on a statewide survey of entrepreneurs who were asked to share trends on how their firms were faring and to report on key issues they face in today’s marketplace. In general, business is pretty good in Iowa. Thirty-seven percent of surveyed firms grew last year, while only 15% downsized. The remainder of firms held steady. Most of the firms remain quite small—almost half had revenues of under $100,000. One potential reason for this small size is that the firms aren’t hitting new markets—54% of surveyed firms don’t do business outside of Iowa.
When asked to identify pressing business problems, surveyed entrepreneurs highlighted the following as top concerns:
- Cost of Health Insurance and Other Benefits
- Finding Qualified Employees
- Growing Sales
- Market Competition
Despite ranking costs and taxes as pressing issues, respondents also tended to see Iowa as a good place to do business. While this report is focused on Iowa, this useful report is a great guide on issues facing small entrepreneurs. The survey and report also serve a great model that could be emulated in other states