by Ray Hayes

The 2018 Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey brings together more than a 7,000 small business owners in all 50 states and across 249 occupations to provide insight on business owner perceptions of government policy in the US. The occupations include plumbers, lawyers, engineers and many more. With a variety of occupations comes an array of different insights, experiences and values creating a holistic view of small business issues.

This year’s survey was a different from prior years.  Small business owners graded their local and state governments based on eight factors that affect their business which included local ease of starting a business, licensing regulations and overall grade for how supportive local government are towards small business. Owners were also asked to identify their top issues affecting their business.

The survey revealed that 17 percent stated that local government should focus on reducing or simplifying taxes, while 34 percent state that the federal government should do the same. Furthermore, 15 percent of owners stated that local governments should help local businesses acquire credit and 10 percent stated federal governments should as well.

The four most important takeaways from the survey included the following:

  • Small business deserves a bigger spotlight – Small business owners feel that they are being overlooked and government are prioritizing corporations and large businesses over them. 70 percent of small business owner’s think their local government cares most about attracting and supporting new corporations while 30 percent think local governments are making small business their priority. Overall, owners feel that their concerns and issues are not being prioritized no matter what the issue may be.
  • Health care is still a big financial deal – Health care is the biggest policy impacting the livelihood of small business owners. Owners want political officials to stop talking about monthly health insurance premiums and fix the problem as soon as possible.
  • Local issues matter – Local issues are strongly impacting owner funds such as housing prices. Increasing transportation costs are impacting business owner’s ability to work where they live and travel.
  • Training for the future is key – In order to grow with the times, owners feel as though investing in training is a major priority.  With all the new technology appearing day by day and the consistent job market changes, training is key to keeping up with competitors.