Small Business Owners Concerned Over Taxes, Healthcare Issues

May 4, 2011

Tax-related regulations and concerns over health care burden many small business owners today.

Nearly two out of three business owners believe that tax-related regulations are too burdensome, while 51 percent find health insurance mandates challenging, according to the Travelers Institute’s national small business survey.

When asked about disaster planning, more than half of all small business owners surveyed indicated that they do not have a business continuity plan, raising an alarm for small business preparedness.

The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies Inc., surveyed national small business owners to identify the challenges facing entrepreneurs across the country. The Travelers Institute also released its white paper, titled “Small Business, Big Opportunity – Finding Solutions for Small Business Challenges.” The white paper and survey results will serve as the cornerstone for discussion at the Travelers Institute’s national series of symposia on small business advocacy.

The majority of those surveyed feel that the economy will improve over the next year. Owners of startup businesses are especially optimistic that the national economy and fiscal situation will be better a year from now than it is today.

While the survey reveals that small business owners may believe their revenue will grow and that they will be hiring new employees over the next year, close to a third of those surveyed feel government regulations are negatively impacting their ability to hire and retain employees, as well as grow their businesses.

Additional key issues of concern for small business owners, according to the survey, include:

  • 47 percent find operational regulations burdensome, such as licensing, permitting, and inspection issues;
  • 52 percent feel government regulations more heavily impact small businesses than their larger counterparts;
  • 64 percent feel a single point of contact to deal with regulatory requirements to start a business at the federal and state level would be helpful.

With these statistics in mind, the Travelers Institute proposes three principles for small business advocacy in its white paper:

1) Raise awareness of the importance of small businesses as well as identify and pursue opportunities to promote economic growth;

2) Encourage and recommend alternatives to burdensome regulatory procedures and proposals for small businesses through outreach to lawmakers;

3) Facilitate public-private partnerships to raise awareness of issues essential to small business success, such as risk management and business continuity planning.

Interviews were conducted via a telephone survey among a sample of small business owners with 1 to 50 employees, representative at an industry and state level. The interviewing was conducted from February 18 to March 11, 2011, resulting in 600 survey responses.

Source: Travelers Institute, www.travelersinstitute.com

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