Biggest Problems Facing Small Businesses

by: Bespoke Investment Group

Earlier this morning, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) released its monthly survey of small business sentiment which showed that overall optimism was up slightly in the last month rising from 92.8 to 93.1. Reading through the entire report always shows some interesting trends regarding what is going on in the small business world.

For example, each month the NFIB asks businesses what the most important problem is that they are facing. The table to the right shows the breakdown regarding what business owners see as their biggest problem. As shown, poor sales tops this month's list of biggest problems at 22%.

Besides poor sales, it is somewhat disheartening to see that the next two biggest problems facing small businesses are taxes and government requirement/red tape. Combined, these two categories account for 39% of the biggest problems facing small businesses.

While taxes are something that small business owners have and always will grumble about, government regulation and red tape is a relatively new problem facing small business owners. The chart below shows the historical percentage of small businesses that have cited "government requirements and red tape" as the number one problem they face in running their business. At a current level of 19%, the percentage of small business owners citing red tape as their biggest concern has more than doubled from the level it was at just four years ago.