Tag Archive for 'Small Business Poll'

Poll results: Your local economy and sales

The Question:
Halfway through the 1st quarter, what’s the condition of the local economy and your sales?

13% - Our economy is strong and sales are great.
50% - Our economy and sales are good, but not great.
34% - Our economy is weakening — sales volume is off.
3% - Our economy is very weak, and we’re in trouble.

Jim’s Comments:

I think our poll response reflects exactly what the economy is doing: fewer are doing great, more are getting a little better and, after seven years of a moribund economy, most of the troubled companies have already closed up. I’m going to have a lot more to say about this in my Featured Column next week, so stay tuned.

Thanks for your abiding support of our poll each week. Check out our new one below.

With the success of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, is the political midpoint of the American electorate shifting left?

Poll results: Which of the frontrunners would you vote for?

The Question:
It’s the week before the Iowa caucuses. Which of the frontrunner of the two parties would you vote for?

4% - Hillary Clinton
7% - Bernie Sanders
44% - Donald Trump
25% - Ted Cruz
20% - If these are my choices, I won’t vote.

Jim’s Comments:
So, there you have it. The Small Business Advocate Iowa Straw Poll results.

First, you have to notice that small business owners are heavily weighted toward the GOP. When asked why, they typically say, “Because I make payroll twice a month.”

Second, the two troublemakers, Bernie and The Donald, are the frontrunners in their parties. Surely this who-woulda-thunk-it scenario will be the stuff of books and civics lessons for years to come.

Finally, for those of you who support the Democrat O’Malley, or Bush, Rubio or any of the other Republicans, please forgive me for leaving them out of the survey. We just didn’t have room other than to offer the “anyone else” option at the end. Even so, with only 20% choosing this line, it looks like the choices were offered were justified, as they align pretty well with the national polls.

I’m looking forward to our edition next week where we’ll compare our numbers with the actuals of the caucuses. Stay tuned.

And thanks for your abiding support of our poll each week. Check out our new one below.
Poll: Do you think your business is prepared to be relevant and competitive into the next decade?

Small business lessons for Washington

There are innumerable issues and circumstances that can create obstacles to small business success. Whether internal or external, most of these factors occur naturally in the course of doing business, and dealing with them just comes with the territory.

But there is one issue that small business owners shouldn’t be threatened with: poor performance of Washington’s political class.

The marketplace is indifferent to, and unforgiving of, the poor performance of any small business. But what is the small business appeal process when government behavior compromises the greater economy?

Job-one for small business owners is to keep their financial affairs in order – cash flow, profitability, etc. Failure to do so negates positive performance of all other activity.
Job-one for members of Congress is to appropriate the funds for the short and long-term financial operation of the government. Since the federal fiscal year begins on October 1, it follows that the budget and associated appropriations should be completed by September 30. At least that’s how things work in a small business – in the real world.

Without any sense of shame, it apparently seems normal to the Washington political class to still be debating the 2011 budget and funding process with less than half of the fiscal year remaining. Without any sense of embarrassment, the political class continues to behave in such a way as to be regularly compared to a Kabuki dance.

Kabuki is a form of Japanese theater in which characters dress, dance and behave on stage in ways that require the audience to suspend any sense of reality to enjoy. Sadly, few metaphors are more apt today.

We wanted to know what my radio, Internet and Newsletter audience thought about the behavior of America’s Kabuki cast of characters, so we asked this question: “Who is to blame for how Washington is handling the 2011 budget process?”

Even though both major political parties were offered up as the first two options, the response to the third is at once dramatic and hopeful. Almost 60% of our sample chose: “A pox on both houses; both are incompetent.”

If this super-majority sentiment is representative and endures to November 2012, all candidates may be required to demonstrate that they will operate the government as a successful small business owner does – in the responsible, real world.

Perhaps it would be enough just to have a sense of shame.

Last week on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked more about the lack of statesmanship and political shenanigans going on these days in Washington, D.C. Take a few minutes to click on the links below and leave us your thoughts on how you think the political haranguing should be resolved.

Washington’s Kabuki Dance: Without any sense of shame

America’s canary in the mineshaft

How’s business?

As I have talked with small business owners across the country over the past few months, the abiding topic of discussion is the economy. “How’s business?” I ask. The answers I get depend upon many factors:  Some industries are not good across the country, like anything connected to real estate, for example. Some markets are having a tougher time than others, with almost no industries or sectors escaping the local economic blight. Las Vegas comes to mind, as does Detroit.

But just as one person tells me things are tough, if I do an about-face and ask another small business owner, the news may well be very good.

We thought a good way to get a handle on what’s really happening in the small business sector of the economy would be to ask about growth plans for next year, so we asked this question last week:  “Based on what you see now, what are your business growth and investment expectation plans for the new year?” Here’s what our respondents told us:

One-in-five — 20% — said they were doing so well that they were definitely making plans not only to make new investments in their businesses in 2011, but also to hire new people. The next group, representing 45% of respondents, said business was improving slowly, but they expected to be able to make some upgrades of people and stuff next year.

So, the good news is, a plurality — 65% of respondents — were feeling at least some reason to be optimistic about
the future. The bad news is that more than one-third of respondents were still in bad shape, including 11% who are still experiencing a decline in business.

I’ll leave you with two thoughts that you’ve heard me say before: 1) This recovery has been rated by me as an “M” recovery, which stands for marathon; 2) Take a hard look at yourself and your organization to see of any failure to execute might be coming from within. You might need help from an outside observer to accomplish this step. Good luck.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio - and on the Internet.

To participate in the current poll question, visit www.smallbusinessadvocate.com and vote.




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