The Topeka Independent Business Association (TIBA) recently completed its fifth annual Small Business Climate Survey. Participants were asked about their actual business results during 2014 as well as their expectations for 2015. A wide range of topics were covered in the survey including: revenues, profit, employee headcount, employment costs, benefit costs and taxes. A broad spectrum of business sectors were represented by the respondents including: service, retail, wholesale and construction. The survey found that almost 60% of the Topeka-area small businesses are optimistic about overall business for 2015 with 37% being neutral. 67% are predicting growth in revenue/sales in 2014. This is a change from last year’s survey where 48% were optimistic about the next year and 64% were predicting sales/revenue growth.
A large majority of respondents said they had experienced cost and tax increases in 2014, and they anticipate continued cost increases in 2015 in such areas as, materials, employment, benefits and taxes. Taxes, benefits and employment costs increases impacted the most survey participants.
According to this survey, employment numbers will remain the same for 2015 for most participants. 29% of the businesses reported growth in number of employees in 2014, with almost 29% anticipating a growth in 2015. 45% of businesses surveyed reported no change in the number of employees for 2014 and 60% forecasted the same for 2014.
When polled about the biggest concern they had for their business going forward, the top responses listed were: overall sales/business; rising costs, finding/retaining employees and government regulations. Fifty-six companies participated; 66% of the respondents were TIBA members, and 34% were nonmembers.
TIBA conducts this survey annually to help guide TIBA’s activities and public policies, and to keep the public aware of the small business climate in the area.
TIBA would like to thank the Washburn University School of Business for their help in creating the survey and evaluating the results.
The Topeka Independent Business Association is organized to promote the formation, growth and viability of small and independently owned businesses in the Topeka area. The group provides its members with: regular lunch meetings with speakers on topics of interest for independent business owners; networking and social events; and seminars on business-related topics. Through regular member surveys, TIBA also takes positions and advocates for its members at the local and state level.