Sales, government regulation and cash flow were the top three worries concerning small business owners, according to a new survey released by the Enterprise Council on Small Businesses.

The survey posed the question, “What is the single most important problem facing your business today?” and results have changed since the last time it was conducted in 2009.

“Poor Sales” was still the No. 1 concern for small businesses, but it dropped from 25 percent to 20 percent in the most recent 2011 survey.  Uncertainty surrounding “Government Requirements” almost doubled from 9 percent to 16 percent for small business owners.  And “Cash Flow” concerns fell from 17 percent to 13 percent.

The biggest change was the increase in anxiety small business owners felt toward new government regulation.  ECSB Research reported in a separate study that one reason for this might be that owners need help understanding the new regulations.  For example, only 25 percent of small business owners who are eligible for tax credits know that they qualify.

The second-biggest increase was related to labor concerns, as labor quality and labor cost concerns each jumped 3 percent.  Fears of “Cost and Availability of Insurance,” “Interest Rates” and “Inflation” each jumped 2 percent.

The decline in fears surrounding sales and cash flow indicates many businesses are becoming more adaptable to the volatile economy and that business may be improving.  However, concerns over the unpredictable and seemingly uncontrollable regulatory environment are continuing to weigh on their minds.  With all-time low Congressional approval ratings, this is perhaps, a reflection of the general public’s uncertainty of the nation’s political environment.

What concerns do you have as a small business owner?

Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan is the VP of Marketing for PaySimple, the leading provider of service commerce solutions for SMBs. At PaySimple, Sarah leads the company's brand, acquisition, lifecycle, and product marketing strategies, and has been an integral player in growing the company from a fledgling startup to a leading SaaS platform, serving over 15,000 businesses across the country. She loves live music, being outside, great food, and hanging out with her husband, little boy, and dog.

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