Inc. 5000 CEOs weigh in on the state of the small-business economy.
On the whole, Inc. 500|5000 CEOs are upbeat. More than 80 percent reported that their businesses are in strong or very strong shape and are poised to grow in the months ahead. Below are the full survey results and more extensive Inc. 500|5000 CEO comments.
Bonus Question: What has been the most difficult part of running your business in the past three months?
"The biggest challenge for us has been the fast rise in the cost of raw materials. Raw latex has jumped over 50 percent in the past six months, and cotton and other materials have also seen dramatic increases. This increases the cost of our products (organic mattresses) relative to synthetic mattresses (almost all the competition). It gets more and more difficult to pass the costs on to customers." —Michael Penny, founder, Savvy Rest, Charlottesville, Virginia
"Keeping up with orders and growth. Many quotes we have provided over the past year are all starting to hit at once." —Scott Cummings, CEO, Excalibur Technology, Barrington, Illinois
"Managing the impact of the winter storms." —Jere Thompson, co-founder and CEO, Ambit Energy, Plano, Texas
"Encouraging [or] convincing others to start growth now—to shake off the dust and take advantage of the opportunity ahead! To remove the complacency and the fear that had discouraged." —Tariq Farid, CEO, Edible Arrangements, Wallingford, Connecticut
"Managing the growth from 90 employees last year to 180+ employees this year to handle our increasing customer base and market demand! Now, if the government would just put their faith in the American entreprneurial talent and foster free market enterprise with their legislative agendas, the slump could become the slamdunk for millions of start-up, small, and medium-sized companies like ours." —Susan Preator, CEO, Imagine Learning, Provo, Utah
"Overcoming client fears about the uncertainty of the economy." —Bill Bradfield, founder and CEO, Perceptis, Cleveland
"We have been fortunate enough to have been extremely busy over the last 3 months. The most difficult part has been securing good employees to staff the increase in business." —Scott Cooke, president, Polaris Automation, Columbus, Ohio
"Trying to gauge the strength of the economic recovery and our corporate tax situation for 2011." —James Rice, president, Rice & Gardner Consultants, Houston
"Planning with the uncertainty from Washington." —Clint Greenleaf, founder and CEO, Greenleaf Book Group, Austin
"The lack of leadership in the country and the feeling that small businesses will continue to be treated like the red-headed stepchild of the business world. We are the engine of the future, and the administration keeps pouring sugar in the gas tank." —John Most, CEO, Most Agency, Aliso Viejo, California
"Call me." —Howard Laiderman, vice president, Veterans Home Care, St. Louis
1. How would you assess the overall business climate?
2. During the next six months, the overall business climate will:
3. How would you assess the strength of your business?
4. During the next six months, your business will:
5. Are you hiring? If so, how many workers?
6. Are you laying off workers? If so, how many?
7. Do you intend to hire workers within the next six months? If so, how many workers?
8. Do you intend to reduce your work force within the next six months? If so, by how many workers?
9. Are your sales growing so far this year?
10. How much have your sales grown so far this year?
11. Have you sought and received funding in the past six months?
12. What type of funding did you receive?
13. Do you plan on seeking funding within the next six months?
14. What type of funding are you looking for?
15. How optimistic are you that you will receive funding?