The Topeka Independent Business Association (TIBA) recently completed its sixth annual Small Business Climate Survey. Participants were asked about their actual business results during 2015 as well as their expectations for 2016. 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, financial services and construction. The survey found that almost 68% of the Topeka-area small businesses are optimistic about overall business for 2016 with 25% being neutral. 71% are predicting growth in revenue/sales in 2016. This is a change from last year’s survey where 60% were optimistic about the next year and 67% were predicting sales/revenue growth.
A large majority of respondents said they had experienced cost and tax increases in 2015, and they anticipate continued cost increases in 2016 in such areas as, wages, employment, benefits and taxes. Taxes, benefits and employment costs increases impacted the most survey participants.
According to this survey, employment numbers will grow at 42% of the participating businesses for 2016. 21% of the businesses reported growth in number of employees in 2015, while 46% reported no change in headcount.
When polled about the biggest concern they had for their business going forward, the top responses listed were: overall sales/business; finding/retaining employees, healthcare costs, overall costs and government regulations.
Twenty-nine companies participated in this year’s survey.
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.
Washburn University School of Business helps in creating the survey and evaluating the results.