We’re just about finished up with our current vendor survey. This one is, in my humble opinion, the most interesting set of results yet.
Basically, we just asked vendors the biggest challenge their business faced thus far in 2011. The responses we received were greatly varied, but there was a clear winner. If you can call a challenge to the livelihood of small businesses a winner, that is.
Without further ado, I present the results of the survey. Thoughts to follow:
- Decreased demand/shrinking market: 27%
- Customer access to financing: 18%
- Slow economy: 13%
- Other: 13% (collections, marketing, etc.)
- Staffing: 6%
- Consumer Confidence: 5%
- Competition: 5%
- Access to capital/inventory: 5%
- Closing sales: 4%
- Pricing/rising costs: 4%
As you can see, that’s a pretty diverse list. I’m particularly interested in briefly tackling the top two, so let’s do that.
They kind of go hand-in-hand. When customers don’t feel they can get financing, they don’t go for vendors. That drives a vicious cycle of decreasing demand for vendors and the (often mistaken) impression that customers can’t get lending when they need it. In reality, banks are beginning to revive after the recession, and independent lenders like Direct Capital are growing all the time.
Which of these challenges do you most closely identify with?