An improved economy and better consumer sentiment have brightened the outlook among many small business owners, according to new research released by Dell and Intel. In the survey by two of the behemoths in the technology industry, sales and growth expectations were heightened as owners look to invest in tech capabilities to advance their operations. Yet, access to working capital was still identified as a major obstacle to many.
Many tie tech to growth
Dell and Intel embarked on a nine-city tour to gauge the thoughts among small business owners in cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston, and Austin. They found 84 percent of respondents see greater opportunities for growth at home than internationally.
Overall, 56 percent expect their financial situation to improve during the year – as a means to that, 75 percent forecast higher sales numbers.
Responses indicate that investment in procuring technology equipment is directly related to expanding business operations. Seventy-seven percent of small business owners said access to technology is a main driver of growth. Eighty-nine percent said their tech needs are being met, but 41 percent suggested that their demands are more complex, and increasingly so.
“While possessing a bright outlook overall, entrepreneurs and small business owners remain uncertain about the future ahead,” said Ingrid Vanderveldt, entrepreneur in residence at Dell. “To compete in today’s global landscape, they need technology to innovate, but it’s not the only thing they need. Turning a great idea into a successful business also requires access to financing, networking, and knowledge.”
Access to working capital still tight
Vanderveldt’s point about small business needing greater access to working capital to grow reflected the survey’s findings that indeed, credit availability for small businesses was a major obstacle for some respondents.
Thirty-nine percent of entrepreneurs said their personal savings constituted their top source of financing. Banks and credit unions followed in second (22 percent), while investors (2 percent) and venture capital firms (1 percent) were almost non-factors for small business funding.
The results were somewhat disheartening to small business owners, 68 percent of whom said access to working capital was vital to enterprise growth.
In the absence of available credit, many have raided their own personal savings – a dangerous proposition that can put entrepreneurs at risk. Yet, before they despair, small business owners can work with National Funding to obtain the financing they need through working capital loans or the technology they require through equipment leasing.