New Survey Shows Strong Future for Florida Small Businesses; Florida SBDCs Key to Helping Businesses Continue Positive Growth

FSBDCN State Office: The Florida SBDC Network, in conjunction with Florida CFO Jeff Atwater and the Florida Chamber Foundation, has released the 2013 Small Business Survey, which shows a strong future for Florida small businesses. The survey points directly to Florida's economic recovery, with small businesses reporting increases in sales and capital expenditures throughout the past year, two key indicators for scalable growth and future hiring.

Small Business Survey Results, Positive Growth for Florida

Of the 1,093 businesses surveyed, 87 percent planned to grow their business in the next 12 months. Of that 87 percent, 30 percent plan to hire new employees; 27 percent plan to make new capital expenditures; and 19 percent plan to expand their product lines.

"Florida's small businesses are the cornerstone of our growing economy, which is why it is so important that we work closely with their owners and continue taking steps to maintain our status as a very business friendly state," said CFO Atwater. "I am encouraged to know small business owners are seeking to expand, because they are going to lead our state's future growth and prosperity."

In 2012, the Florida SBDC Network helped businesses create, retain and save 47,845 jobs. These growing businesses increased sales by $6.3 billion, generated $215 million in state tax revenue, and contributed $3.9 billion to the state's economy as a result of the work of the Florida SBDC Network.

Small Business Obstacles for Florida Businesses

While the future of Florida small businesses is bright, many still face obstacles in securing access to capital. Of the survey respondents, 19 percent reported regularly using alternative forms of capital to finance their small business and 44 percent indicated they would like to use alternative sources of financing in the future.

"One of the clearest challenges small businesses face is the inability to access sufficient credit and capital to fund growth," said Michael Myhre, State Director (Interim) for the Florida SBDC Network. "It is important that we recognize the needs of small businesses in Florida, and work to provide them with the tools they need to secure necessary capital, grow and succeed in business."

In 2012, the Florida SBDC Network helped its client businesses gain access to $235.2 million in capital. Although the FSBDCN does not loan money, its certified business consultants help businesses assess funding opportunities, identify potential financing sources, evaluate eligibility, and help them prepare documentation required by the lender.

The 13 percent of small business respondents who indicated they had no plans to expand over the next year cited economic uncertainty, lack of sales, lack of available financing, requirements of the federal health care law, and government regulations.

FSBDC Can Help Florida Businesses Overcome Obstacles

To help businesses overcome these challenges, the Florida SBDC Network has over 125 professional certified business consultants statewide who work with businesses to ensure they have the critical knowledge, data, and tools they need to make smart business decisions concerning the future. In 2012, 38,000 small and medium businesses turned to the FSBDCN for professional business consulting—businesses in critical need of more than just information but meaningful, results-driven guidance and expert advice.

"Securing Florida's Future means creating the best possible environment for small businesses–they make up 75 percent of our state's GDP and are the foundation for Florida's success," said John Medina, Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Council and President of Medina Consultants. "But there is still work to do. These results mean we must seek out opportunities to promote sound, business-led solutions to small business capital needs, whether they be financing, venture capital or other vehicles for helping businesses grow and expand."

With over 35 years of proven economic impact, the Florida SBDC Network is the organization that does just that—help businesses grow and succeed. State-designated as Florida's principal provider of business assistance, the Florida SBDC Network serves the complex and diverse needs of emerging and established businesses and is committed to empowering them with the tools and professional expertise they need to succeed.

About the FSBDC Network

For over 35 years, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state.

In 2012, the Florida SBDCs served approximately 38,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 47,845 jobs created, retained and saved at a significantly low cost of $112 per job; $6.3 billion in sales growth; $235.2 million in capital accessed; $588.4 million in government contract awards; and 744 new businesses started. For every $1 of Florida public and private sector investment in the FSBDC program, $40 was returned to the state in tax revenue.

A statewide service network of 40 centers with 60 outreach locations, the Florida SBDC Network is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the Network's designated lead host institution. The Florida SBDC Network is state designated as Florida's principal provider of business assistance and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs.