Survey to Address Needs of Small Rural Business

REAP will once again ask Nebraska’s small businesses and those who serve them what their needs are when it comes to business. The 2010 statewide survey of small business needs is a follow-up to a highly successful survey we did two years ago.

The first REAP statewide Small Business Needs Assessment was conducted in 2008. At that time, nearly two-thirds of respondents identified themselves as a “small business owner.” Of those, 70 percent identified their business as “existing” (they had been at the business for more than one year). A majority of the business owners responding, and many of the people that serve them, indicated a need for bookkeeping and/or QuickBooks training.

REAP answered that need by purchasing 10 laptop computers loaded with QuickBooks in 2008 and took them on the road. Trainings took place in Minden, Broken Bow, York, David City, Central City, Lexington, Holt County and the Panhandle. Upcoming classes are planned for North Central and South Central Nebraska.

To benefit those in our QuickBooks classes, we asked each individual participant about their business’s legal structure, whether or not they had payroll, etc. This allowed us to tailor the classes specifically to the needs of the participating businesses. Each class had no more than five businesses that were similar.

Monica Braun, REAP Women’s Business Center Director, said about the class series, “It has been rewarding to see the response of our small business owners when they realize how beneficial accurate recordkeeping can be to the success of their businesses. It helps when tax time comes around, and they have the needed information. It can quickly help them identify past due accounts and collect those accounts in a more timely manner. That helps their cash flow and viability!”

If you would like to bring the QuickBooks class to your region, contact your REAP Business Specialist today. While on the Center for Rural Affairs’ website, you can also learn more about the results of the initial Small Business Needs Assessment.

Please watch for the new survey early in 2010. Given the economic challenges facing the nation, analyzing the information you provide will be extremely helpful in shaping how we can best serve Nebraska’s rural micro businesses to keep our businesses and communities strong and growing.

Thanks in advance for your participation!

– Dena R. Beck, REAP Business Specialist denab@cfra.org, 308.528.0060