The Sunflower State – Assessing Our Business Garden

To ensure business owners are offered the products and services they need, it is imperative to simply ask. Business needs change as the economy shifts and technology modernizes, and entrepreneurs fluctuate in interests, financial situations, and energy levels. As citizens, large business owners, and business lenders and providers, we need to pay attention to those needs and assist if we want our downtowns, communities, and local economies to thrive.

Entrepreneurship provides employment as well as products and services that citizens need. It is especially important in rural communities, where small businesses add to the richness and character of a place.

Feedback from people who serve small businesses is an important piece of the puzzle, as they provide valuable insight. Local lenders and resource providers know what businesses need to be successful; they see businesses from a community level, and understand the importance of those businesses to the communities and local economies.

“The Sunflower State – Assessing Our Business Garden: 2017 Kansas Small Business Needs Assessment Results,” is authored by Adrienne Vallejo-Foster, executive director of Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission; and Dena R. Beck, senior project leader and loan specialist of the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project and Rural Investment Corporation.

The authors conducted a survey in spring 2017, gathering information from Kansas small business owners and resource providers to identify strengths and areas that need attention. They received 533 responses, representing 84 percent of counties in Kansas.

The survey is modeled after a Nebraska Small Business Needs Assessment conducted biennially since 2008. Questions are based on financing, startup needs, current needs, business growth inhibitors, and training and technology needs.