QuOTE Findings: 2017 Q3

Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) shows anticipated consistency from Q2 2017 relative to Q3 2017

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The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey for Q3 2017, conducted by the City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, finds entrepreneurs are anticipating little change in the next six months relative to responses in Q2 2017.

Among the entrepreneurs participating in this survey, a slightly higher percentage – 85.4 percent (vs. 84.9 percent in Q2 2017) – report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. In terms of capital spending, a lower percentage – 52.6 percent (vs. 58.7 percent) – anticipate increases, while for employment a lower percentage – 60.5 percent (vs. 65.6 percent) – anticipate increases.

“What is intriguing about these data, however, is that we are seeing a gravitation to the ‘no change’ category,” said Lewis Sheats, associate professor of practice in entrepreneurship in the North Carolina State University Poole College of Management and executive director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic.

“Across all three areas – sales, capital spending and employment growth – greater percentages of entrepreneurs are anticipating no change. In sales, 13.9 percent vs. 11.9 percent (in Q2 2017) are anticipating no change. For capital spending, we see a similar trend (43.8 percent vs. 36.5 percent) and we see this also in anticipated employment growth (37.3 percent vs. 32.1 percent),” Sheats said. “These data suggest a consistency, or perhaps a leveling out of these numbers. This is supported by the outlook index which dropped just slightly 114.0 (versus 116.30 in Q2 2017),” he said.

The City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic in conjunction with 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 NC State Poole College of Management, 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 third quarter of 2017, show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment.

2017 Q3

2017 Q2







How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months?  85.4%  13.9%  0.7%  84.9%  11.9%  3.2%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months?  52.6%  43.8%  3.6%  58.7%  36.5%  4.8%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months?  60.5%  37.3%  2.2%  65.6%  32.1%  2.3%


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.

Survey Date

Entrepreneurs’ Economic Outlook Index

Q3 2017 114.00
Q2 2017 116.30
Q1 2017 117.07
Q4 2016 108.47
Q3 2016 110.70
Q2 2016 103.80
Q1 2016 110.77
Q4 2015 103.93
Q3 2015 107.80
Q2 2015 121.83
Q1 2015 117.68
Q4 2014 113.67


The City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic as well as the Poole College of Management plan to expand this 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.