As Florida’s economic recovery continues to outpace the nation, a new Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index shows many companies reporting both higher sales and increased economic optimism.
The Florida Chamber unveiled the Index Thursday as part of the annual Florida SBDC Network Annual Conference held at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. Conducted from May 12 through May 23 in conjunction with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC), the survey found 43% of small businesses in Florida reporting higher company sales compared to the same time last year.
“Four out of five new jobs in Florida will be created by small businesses,” said Florida Chamber CEO Mark Wilson, “which is why the Florida Chamber is focused on creating opportunities like increasing Florida-origin exports and lowering the cost of doing business with issues such as lawsuit abuse reform.
“The Small Business Survey helps us monitor the health of the important role small businesses play in Florida’s economy.”
When asking business owners about issues facing small businesses, two responses tied for the top: access to capital and economic uncertainty, each receiving 24% of the vote. Among the others were access to capital (12%) and economic uncertainty (10%). In addition, 43% of respondents reported higher sales compared to the same time period last year, while only 1-in-4 businesses reported lower sales.
Overall, optimism over Florida’s economic future is on the rise; 58 % expect the economy to improve over the next year, a number up three percent from 2013. Additionally, two-thirds (67%) of respondents expect the economy to improve in the next three years; that number is also up six percent from last year.
“Our state officials are interested to know what issues, challenges and barriers our businesses face,” said Florida SBDC Network State Director Michael Myhre. “Knowing these could lead to better policy—helping us grow our state’s most valuable resource: small business.”
The results of Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey is also available online.