SBRB study discovers top small-business concerns

Taxes, the general state of the economy, and energy/fuel costs were the three leading concerns of small distribution and wholesaling companies during the second quarter of 2007, according to a Small Business Research Board (SBRB) study.

Owners of distribution and wholesaling businesses responding to the nationwide poll co-sponsored by International Profit Associates (IPA) said foreign competition also was among their leading concerns.

The quarterly poll of small distribution and wholesale concerns also measured their interest in expanding their operations over the next 12 to 24 months. Only 31% of the respondents said they intend to expand during this period. Of those respondents, 21% said they would provide more services, 20% said they would expand current locations, and 19% said they would add locations. Respondents to the poll also indicated they would add new products (18%) and enhance customer service (16%).

Business owners said improving staff training would be key to productivity improvements over the next 12 to 24 months. Improving automation, adding more staff, and adding more automation or technology ranked second through fourth.

The SBRB Distribution and Wholesaling Industry study also indicated that 47% of the respondents believe the economy will improve during the next 12 months and that 72% believe their revenues will increase during the same period. The survey results showed that 34% will add employees with 40% maintaining current staff levels.

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