QuOTE Findings: 2015 Q3

QuOTE survey finds lower levels of optimism for sales, capital spending, employment growth

Published Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey for Q3 2015, conducted by the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, finds entrepreneurs are viewing the next six months less optimistically than in previous quarters.

Entrepreneurs participating in this third-quarter survey, a smaller percentage, 81.1 compared to 86.7 percent in Q2 2015, report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. Similarly, in terms of capital spending, 58.9 percent, compared to 66.4 percent previously, anticipate increases; for employment, 56.7 percent of the Q3 respondents, compared to 67.9 percent previously, anticipate increases.

Access to capital is the most significant issue entrepreneurs are facing, according to the Q3 2015 survey responses. Talent acquisition – finding good people to hire – was the second category on which entrepreneurs agreed they are having the most concern. Increased competition and finding new clients came in third as top issues.

“Within these last four quarters of data collection, we have seen a sharp increase and then this new decrease in optimism,” said Lewis Sheats, senior lecturer of entrepreneurship in the NC State Poole College of Management and the director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic.

“It is not surprising that we are now seeing what might be a leveling off; future data collection can bear this out – or not. This survey can identify trends, and we have had a very positive trend going. It will be interesting to see where the next quarter’s data indicates we are headed. As we have said before, the QuOTE survey provides us valuable feedback to advance, promote and foster a thriving startup environment,” Sheats 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 Poole College, adapted the survey, and analyzes 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 third quarter of 2015 show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment:

QuOTE 2015 - Q3-Q2 compariosn

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.

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

The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College of Management plan to expand this survey. Triangle entrepreneurs who would like to participate should email their name, business name, and email address to TheEClinic@ncsu.edu. There is no cost to participate and responses are confidential.