QuOTE Findings: 2014 Q4

Published: December 29, 2014

The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey for Q4 2014, conducted by the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic finds entrepreneurs see the next six months as a growth-oriented time.

Among the entrepreneurs participating in this survey, 86.9 percent report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. In terms of capital spending, 55.8% anticipate increases, and for employment, 60.3% anticipate increases.

The survey also found the issue of growing too slowly to be the most significant with 56.7 percent of entrepreneurs agreeing that this is a concern for their business. Recruiting talent (in operations, management and marketing) was second, with 50 percent reporting concern here. Third, was economic uncertainty with 48.1 percent of entrepreneurs agreeing that this was a concern.

“The optimism found in the survey confirms what we hear from entrepreneurs on the street. This outlook continues to drive growth and value creation for our community,” says Lewis Sheats, senior lecturer of entrepreneurship in the Poole College of Management and the director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic.

The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College jointly conduct the quarterly survey, which helps entrepreneurial companies in the Triangle anticipate business decisions and plan for growth. Jeff Pollack, an assistant professor in the Poole College of Management at NC State adapted the survey, and analyzed the data, based on the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of American companies that conducts a similar survey nationally with large companies.

The following survey results, from the fourth quarter of 2014 show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment:


2014 Q4
Increase No Charge Decrease
How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months? 86.9% 9.1% 4.0%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months? 55.8% 38.7% 5.5%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months? 60.3% 37.2% 2.5%

The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College collected responses from 199 entrepreneurs  in the Triangle. The average age of ventures in this sample was roughly 5.5 years (with 54.0% being younger that 3 years). The average annual revenue year-to-date for respondents was $916,054 with fully one-quarter (27.3%) of this sample reporting being pre-revenue. Over half (51.8%) of this sample reported average year-to-date revenue of less than $150,000. A diverse range of industries are represented in the sample (18.4% software/technology, 4.2% health care, 7.2% sales/service, 3.6% financial services, 6.0% food and beverage). The average number of full-time employees in these ventures was just over 6 with the majority (89.0%) of these entrepreneurial ventures having 10 or fewer full-time employees and 98% having fewer than 10 part-time employees.

The results also provide an overall entrepreneurs’ economic outlook index, which is based on businesses’ projected six-month sales, spending and employment figures. Over time, trends in this index can be viewed as indicating general optimism or pessimism about entrepreneurship in the Triangle.

Entrepreneurs’ Economic Outlook Index
Survey Date Entrepreneurs’ Economic Outlook Index
Q4 2014 113.67

We would like to extend a special thank you to the following organizations for sharing our survey and encouraging participation:

  • HQ Raleigh
  • American Underground
  • City of Raleigh
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
  • Business Network International
  • Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Bull City Coworking
  • 1789 Venture Lab
  • First Flight Venture Center
  • NC State Technology Incubator
  • Chapel Hill/Carboro Chamber of Commerce
  • Durham Chamber of Commerce
  • Innovate Carolina

The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College of Management want to expand the survey—any Triangle entrepreneur is invited to participate. Participation is free, and responses are confidential. Entrepreneurs who would like to participate in the next survey should email their name, business, and email address to TheEClinic@ncsu.edu.