Babson College has released the findings of a study of small business owners called,  The State of Small Business in America (PDF). The purpose of the report is to advance small business owners’ perspectives on how to grow in the U.S. business landscape specifically around: access to capital, the regulatory environment, workforce, and technology. It is based on the feedback of over 1,800 respondents across the country, all of which have at least four employees and at least $150,000 in revenues. Below are some highlights from the 40-page report. (Note: Limiting the survey to small businesses with at least four employees means the survey does not include the largest segment of small businesses, the self-employed.)


Obtaining capital is challenging for small businesses

Banks | Primary source of funding
$100,000 | Median amount requested (across all sources, including banks)
$40,500 | Amount lent

Sidenotes | Companies run by people with a business and management education are more likely to obtain capital and secure a greater portion of their request. To facilitate access to credit, businesses are asking for more flexible loan terms.

Regulations are a challenge for small businesses

60% | Find difficulty in understanding and managing government regulations and laws
4 Hours | On average, the time spent per week is spent dealing with government regulations and tax compliance
200 Hours | The time spent annually dealing with government regulations and tax compliance

Sidenote | For the vast majority of respondents, the owner is primarily responsible for dealing with regulatory issues.

Skills gap is a major issue in finding employee

70% |  Say it is difficult to hire qualified employees

Business owners value technology but are hindered by costs

80% | Recognize the importance of technology to the growth of their businesses
49% | Say that cost-related issues account for significant technology challenges

Sidenote | Cost-related issues range from the expense of  new technology  to the cost of upgrades and maintenance to training

Cyber security is viewed as a significant threat

40% | Businesses that feel ill-prepared for a cyber attack
25% | Have been victim of a cyber-attack


Illustration: SmallBusiness.com