QuOTE Findings: 2016 Q1

Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) finds higher levels of optimism across the board

Published Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey for Q1 2016, conducted by the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic based in the NC State University Poole College of Management, finds entrepreneurs are viewing the next six months more optimistically in terms of sales, capital spending, and employment growth.

Among the entrepreneurs participating in this survey, a greater percentage – 88.2% (vs. 83.6% in Q4 2015) – report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. In terms of capital spending, a greater percentage – 46.3% (vs. 43.5%) – anticipate increases, and for employment, 61.2% (vs. 50.4%) anticipate increases.

The average age of these companies was 6.33 years, and they had an average of six employees each. The average 12-month revenue reported was $779,650. Recruitment of staff to fill operations roles (e.g., marketing), rising health care costs, and too slow grow were the top three issues reported by the companies as areas of concern.

“Over the last year, we have seen a steady decrease and now this upward tick in overall optimism,” said Lewis Sheats, senior lecturer of entrepreneurship in Poole College and the director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic. The outlook index rose for the first time since Q2 2015 to 110.77 (from 103.93 in Q4).

“Overall, as I’ve noted before, this survey is particular useful in detecting trends. Now that we have had a quarter of optimism, we need to be careful to explore why we’ve seen this new optimism after three quarters of decline,” Sheats said, adding. “That we are now seeing greater optimism we need to look back and spot the antecedents to be able to act accordingly in the future.”

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 first quarter of 2016 show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment.

Table with 2016 Q1 QuOTE Projections


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.

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

The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College of Management plan to expand the survey. Triangle area entrepreneurs who would like to participate should send an email message to the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic with their name, business and preferred email address. Participation is free and responses are confidential.