QuOTE Findings: 2015 Q2

Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) finds increased positive outlook

Published Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The second 2015 Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey, conducted by the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, finds that entrepreneurs continue to see the next six months as a growth-oriented time. The Clinic began conducting the QuOTE surveys in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Among the entrepreneurs participating in this Q2 2015 survey, a smaller percentage – 86.7% (vs. 91.1% in Q1 2015) – report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. In terms of capital spending, a greater percentage – 66.4% (vs. 59.9%) – anticipate increases; for employment, 67.9% (vs. 61.7%) anticipate increases.

Those responding to the Q2 survey found growing too slowly to be the most significant issue, with 54.7% (vs. 59.4% in Q1 2015) of entrepreneurs agreeing that this is a concern for their business.

“Interestingly, the second category where entrepreneurs agreed they are having the most concern is growing too quickly (51.9%),” said Lewis Sheats, senior lecturer of entrepreneurship in the NC State University Poole College of Management and director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic. Coming in third as a significant issue was recruiting talent (in operations, management and marketing), with 50.9% (vs. 49.3%) agreeing on this issue.

“With these last three quarters of data collection, our findings continue to confirm optimism towards growth in our entrepreneurial community. Concerns regarding both growing too slowly and growing too quickly are the main take-away here,” Sheats said.

“This could account for the reported increases in anticipated capital spending and employee growth for the next six months. Overall, the QuOTE survey provides us valuable feedback to advance, promote and foster a thriving startup environment,” he said.

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 second quarter of 2015 show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment.


The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College collected responses from 128 entrepreneurs in the Triangle during the Q2 2015 survey. The following data provide a profile of those responding.

  • Average age of ventures in this sample: roughly 7.10 years (with 41.1% being younger than 3 years).
  • Average annual revenue year-to-date for respondents: $1.49 million with almost one-fifth (19.0%) of this sample reporting being pre-revenue.
  • Over half (59.0%) of this sample reported average year-to-date revenue of less than $150,000.
  • The Q2 2015 survey participants represent a diverse range of industries: 20.7% software/technology, 5.4% health care, 5.6% sales/service, 5.4% financial services, 5.4% food and beverage.
  • The average number of full-time employees in these ventures was roughly 14, with the majority (57.4%) of these entrepreneurial ventures having three or fewer full-time employees.

The survey 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, with a positive upward trend from Q1 2015 to now.

Q2 2015 Entrepreneurs Economic Index

A full report on the findings is available at the Entrepreneurship Clinic website.

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