Local business owners are optimistic about business opportunities, according to a survey conducted by the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
“Of those surveyed, more than 81 percent of businesses expect their business to improve somewhat or improve greatly over the next one to three years,” says Keith Strassner, director of Technology Transfer and Economic Development (TTED) and the SBTDC service location that it operates. “Although we expected most to have a positive outlook, it was surprising to see this number that high.”
Another surprising result from the survey was the number of businesses involved in exporting, with nearly 25 percent of respondents doing business internationally.
“Many small businesses don’t think about exporting because they consider themselves too small,” Strassner says. “However, about 97 percent of all exporters are small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration.”
Some of the top concerns for businesses include diversification and business expansion, customer service, and attracting and retaining employees. Other information gathered from the survey will help shape the programs and support the SBTDC offers.
The opportunity to hear a presentation sharing the results is available to area chambers of commerce, economic development groups, city administrations and groups involved in business and economic development. The business needs survey was conducted in late 2016 in Crawford, Dent, Franklin, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Osage, Phelps and Pulaski counties, all of which are in Missouri S&T’s SBTDC service area.
Missouri S&T’s SBTDC provides business counseling and assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses in the areas of management, new business creation, business acquisition, business sales, marketing, financial analysis, human resources, operations management, succession planning and technology commercialization. Most services are provided at no cost. It is a University of Missouri Extension partner and part of the Missouri SBTDC statewide network, which is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.