Lack of Capital & Marketing Top Concerns for Small Businesses

Release Date: 



Dena R. Beck,, (308) 528-0060

Lyons, NE - Today, the Center for Rural Affairs released the organization’s fifth biennial assessment of rural small business trends, needs and concerns in Nebraska. The report - Their Needs and Thoughts: Results of the Fifth Biennial Small Business Needs Assessment - found that marketing assistance and startup capital were top concerns for respondents, as in past surveys. But a new question in the 2016 survey revealed a new common concern among rural, small businesses: the cost of hiring an employee.

“We added a new question 2016 survey, in response to Center for Rural Affairs REAP staff,” said Dena Beck, Senior Project Leader and Loan Specialist, Center for Rural Affairs Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP). “Businesses have told us they want and need to grow, yet are not growing. So we asked businesses that find themselves in that quandary to offer some insight.”

According to Beck, the cost of hiring an employee, including FICA and unemployment insurance, emerged as the top business growth inhibitor among responding businesses. Employee quality issues ranked second, and employee/applicant quantity issues ranked third.

To view or download a copy of 
Their Needs and Thoughts: Results of the Fifth Biennial Small Business Needs Assessment
go to

“Another interesting facet of the findings in this assessment relate to training and technology,” Beck continued. “When asked what types of training or assistance they would like to have, business owners once again most commonly selected marketing and advertising assistance. However, assistance with social networking, bookkeeping and succession planning all saw a rise in the number of business that selected those areas as a need, as compared to surveys in past years.” 

The 2016 Small Business Needs Assessment, a biennial survey administered by the Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP, had the largest response rate to date with 587 respondents. The survey sampled opinions of 248 existing businesses, 45 new businesses (within the first year of startup), and 47 transitioning businesses (within ten years of exiting the business) from across rural Nebraska. The assessment also includes responses from resource providers and lenders that serve Nebraska businesses.

“This survey serves many purposes,” explained Beck. “We utilize it internally to ensure that we are delivering the products and services our businesses need. And we share the information with Chambers of Commerce, the Nebraska Economic Developers Association, local service clubs, development districts, and community colleges to inform their efforts as well.”

“And in the future, we hope to broaden the survey to surrounding states with similar demographics and economies,” Beck added.

“I want to thank all of the businesses and others who completed the survey. We also could not have gotten the information without people passing the link along to businesses and those who serve small businesses in Nebraska,” concluded Beck. “The fifth biennial Small Business Needs Assessment is hot off the presses and ready to be read, shared and delivered to your organization or community."

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