Survey Finds Small Businesses Give Federal Government Poor Marks

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
February 8, 2023Business News
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Survey Finds Small Businesses Give Federal Government Poor Marks
A man shops at a supermarket in Miami Beach, on March 21, 2020. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

A majority of small businesses are barely giving the federal government a passing grade when it comes to meeting their needs.

Seventy percent of small businesses recently surveyed gave the federal government a “C grade or below” in its effectiveness of programs, services, and tax credits that are available to them, and 93 percent believe that the government prioritizes big business over small business.

The survey, published by Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Small Business program on Monday, found that though most small business owners felt optimistic about the financial trajectory of their businesses in the upcoming year (68 percent) and expect to see an increase in profits (60 percent), when it comes to the federal government’s ability to tailor programs and services to better fit small business, an overwhelming 96 percent felt that the government needs to do a much better job.

A large factor playing into this perception, Goldman Sachs found, is due to a communication disconnect. Eighty-five percent of respondents gave the government a C or below for its marketing and communication efforts. A full fifth gave the administration an F while only 1 percent felt it deserved an “A.”

“Business owners don’t feel like the programs are all that effective, and they also don’t even feel like they have a sense of what’s available, some of which maybe is effective,” the national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices told CBS News.

Despite the respondents’ bleak view regarding the current state of the economy, 81 percent described it as “fair” or “poor”—only 9 percent had had to lay off employees over the past three months.

Though 51 percent anticipated that they would be creating new jobs in the coming year and 59 percent are actively hiring, workforce challenges seem to be the top struggle for small business owners these days.

Eighty-two percent are finding it difficult to recruit qualified candidates for open positions, the study found, despite the latest job openings numbers—11 million as of December 2022, according to Trading Economics, with the largest job increases in the accommodation, food services, retail trade, and construction industries.

The one area where the administration earned decent marks was in disaster relief; 52 percent said the administration’s effectiveness in this area was either excellent (10 percent) or good (42 percent).

Ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, 94 percent of small businesses are urging that Congress join in a bipartisan effort to modernize the Small Business Association (SBA), according to Goldman Sachs. In a statement announcing its recent survey findings, the financial institution described the SBA as “the major government agency tasked with ensuring the health and vitality of the nation’s entrepreneurial community.”

Goldman Sachs articulated the sentiments that many small business owners feel in its statement, which quoted Sydney Reickhoff, small business owner of Almost Famous Popcorn.

“Unfortunately, the historic challenges presented by the pandemic made clear that government programs designed to help small businesses have not evolved alongside them,” Reickhoff said. “Now we are navigating our new normal with outdated tools and programs to fit yesterday’s needs.”

“I speak for my fellow small business owners in urging Democrats and Republicans in Congress to prioritize our needs by working across the aisle to modernize the Small Business Administration,” he concluded.

In November 2022, Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Small Business Voices launched a grassroots campaign to push Congress to reauthorize the SBA in a bipartisan effort in 2023, something that hasn’t happened in 23 years. Its efforts resulted in a letter, signed by more than 3,000 small businesses across all 50 states, calling on Congress to work together on legislation reauthorizing the SBA in 2023.

The Goldman Sachs survey was conducted from Jan. 23 to 26 and was based on the responses from 1,838 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program participants within 48 U.S. states.

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