QuOTE Findings: 2015 Q1


Published: January 21, 2015

The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey for the first quarter of 2015, conducted by the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, finds entrepreneurs continue to see the next six months as a growth-oriented time. Among the entrepreneurs participating in this survey, 91.1 percent (vs. 86.9 percent of survey participants in the fourth quarter of 2014) report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. In terms of capital spending, 59.9 percent (vs. 55.8 percent in the prior survey period) anticipate increases. For employment, 61.7 percent (vs. 60.3 percent) anticipate increases.

This 2015 first quarter survey, similar to the 2014 fourth quarter survey, also found the issue of growing too slowly to be the most significant issue, with 59.4 percent (vs. 56.7 percent of the 2014 fourth quarter respondents) reporting that this is a concern for their business. Recruiting talent in operations, management and marketing was second again, with 49.3 percent (vs. 50 percent in the 2014 fourth quarter) reporting this as a concern. The third top concern in the 2015 first quarter survey was recruiting talent in engineering, information technology and developers, displacing economic uncertainty, which was the third top concern reported by 42.9 percent of respondents in the 2014 fourth quarter survey.

“With two quarters of data collection, we are pleased that our findings continue to confirm optimism regarding growth in our entrepreneurial community. QuOTE provides us valuable feedback to advance, promote and foster a striving startup environment in the region,” says Lewis Sheats, senior lecturer of entrepreneurship in the NC State University Poole College of Management and director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic.

The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College jointly conduct the quarterly survey, which provides data to help entrepreneurial companies in the Triangle plan for growth and other business decisions. Jeff Pollack, an assistant professor in entrepreneurship at the Poole College of Management, provided data analysis for the survey, which was adapted from a national survey of large companies conducted by the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies.

Q1 2015 QuOTE Survey Results

The following survey results, from the first quarter of 2015, show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment.

QuOUT survey results Q1 2015 vs. Q4 2014


The Entrepreneurship Clinic and Poole College faculty collected responses from 168 entrepreneurs in the Triangle for this 2015 first quarter survey. The average age of ventures in this sample was roughly 7.60 years (with 45.2 percent being younger than three years). The average annual revenue year-to-date for respondents was $1.31 million with almost one-fifth (19.0 percent) of this sample reporting being pre-revenue. Over half (52.4 percent) of this sample reported average year-to-date revenue of less than $150,000.

Diverse ranges of industries are represented in the sample (23.4 percent software/technology, 4.8 percent health care, 10.5 percent sales/service, 4.8 percent financial services, 4.0 percent food and beverage). The average number of full-time employees in these ventures was over 10, with the majority (56.6 percent) of these entrepreneurial ventures having 3 or fewer full-time employees.

The results also provide an overall entrepreneurs’ economic outlook index, which is based on businesses’ projected six-month sales, capital spending, and employment figures. Over time, trends in this index can be viewed as indicating general optimism or pessimism about entrepreneurship in the Triangle. We see, here, a positive upward trend from the fourth quarter of 2014 to now.

Entrepreneurs’ Economic Outlook Index

Entrepreneurs' Economic Outlook Index Q4 2014 vs. Q1 2015


The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College of Management plan to expand the reach of this quarterly survey. Triangle entrepreneurs who would like to participate should send an email message with their name, business and preferred email address to TheEClinic@ncsu.edu. Participation is free and responses are confidential.