Business Leaders Optimistic about 2017

Social media is powerful
December 29, 2016
ChoiceSpine acquires Exactech’s spine assets
February 1, 2017
Show all

Business Leaders Optimistic about 2017

Knoxville, Tenn. – While the vast majority of East Tennessee businesses are optimistic about 2017, they also believe they face significant challenges, including rising healthcare costs and the ability to recruit and retain skilled employees, according to a recent survey conducted by Ackermann PR.

Seventy-three percent of the nearly 300 business leaders who responded to the survey said that the economy will continue to improve over the next 12 months. When asked about their most serious challenges for 2017, the majority of respondents say the overall cost of employee benefits and the high level of competition in recruiting and retaining skilled employees are at the top of the list.

Nearly 60 percent of those participating in the Ackermann PR survey expect a slight increase in both business volume and staffing for 2017 while 26 percent are expecting a significant increase in sales revenue.

Approximately half of the business leaders voiced continuing concerns regarding taxation, government policies and regulations, and increased marketplace competition.

While some economists are forecasting a looming U.S. recession, 71 percent of the survey respondents disagree. When asked about the recent presidential election, 65 percent said it will only have a moderate impact on their business.

“No one knows the East Tennessee business climate better than those who actually own and run businesses here,” said Cathy Ackermann, founder and CEO of Ackermann PR. “And what these corporate leaders are telling us is that while the business outlook is fairly promising, we still have work to do in terms of realizing our full potential and achieving our growth goals.”

###

2017 Business Trends Survey – Summary:

Q1 – I feel the overall economy in the last 12 months has:

  • Improved: 64%
  • Stayed the same: 33%
  • Declined: 3%

Q2 – I feel the overall economy in the next 12 months will:

  • Improve: 73%
  • Stay the same: 18%
  • Decline: 9%

Q3 – Some economists are forecasting a looming recession. Do you…:

  • Agree strongly: 2%
  • Agree: 20%
  • Disagree: 62%
  • Disagree strongly: 9%
  • No opinion: 8%

Q4 – From an overall societal standpoint, what are the top three issues that concern you? Identify your top three challenges from the list below and order them from one to three, with one being your greatest concern.

  • Healthcare: 61%
  • Education: 43%
  • Immigration: 41%
  • Gun control: 39%
  • Foreign relations: 38%
  • Environment: 33%
  • Crime: 33%

Q5 – What phrase best describes your organization’s expected business results for 2017 as compared to 2016?

  • Significant increase in sales/revenue: 26%
  • Slight increase in sales/revenue: 59%
  • Flat sales/revenue: 8%
  • Slight decrease in sales/revenue: 5%
  • Significant decrease in sales/revenue: 0%
  • Not applicable: 3%

Q6 – What phrase best describes your organization staffing outlook for 2017 as compared to 2016?:

  • Significant increase in staffing: 8%
  • Slight increase in staffing: 53%
  • Flat staffing: 27%
  • Slight decrease in staffing: 8%
  • Significant decrease in staffing: 2%
  • Not applicable: 3%

Q7 – What are your top three greatest challenges to achieve business growth in 2017? Identify your top three challenges from the list below and order them from one to three, with one being your greatest challenge.:

  • Government policy regulations: 48% (3rd)
  • Corporate taxation: 58% (1st)
  • Customer demand: 37%
  • Economic uncertainty: 32%
  • Attracting skilled labor: 42%
  • Motivating employees: 46%
  • Technology issues: 44%
  • Increased competition: 50% (2nd)
  • Information overload: 50% (2nd)
  • Determining smart/new strategies for accomplishing growth objectives: 37%
  • “Staying current”: 38%

Q8 – In your opinion, how serious are the following challenges to your business? Please select none, mild, or serious from the list of challenges.:

  • Competition – foreign
    • None: 74%
    • Mild: 23%
    • Serious: 3%
  • Competition – domestic
    • None: 12%
    • Mild: 54%
    • Serious: 34%
  • Changes in customer preferences
    • None: 20%
    • Mild: 54%
    • Serious: 26%
  • Price shopping/commoditized viewpoint
    • None:22%
    • Mild: 48%
    • Serious: 31%
  • Recruiting skilled employees
    • None: 52%
    • Mild: 35%
    • Serious: 12%
  • Retaining skilled employees
    • None: 22%
    • Mild: 32%
    • Serious: 46%
  • Ability to pay competitive salaries
    • None: 22%
    • Mild: 48%
    • Serious: 31%
  • The increasing cost of benefits
    • None: 8%
    • Mild: 34%
    • Serious: 58%
  • Funding capital investment
    • None: 34%
    • Mild: 40%
    • Serious: 26%
  • Taxes
    • None: 29%
    • Mild: 51%
    • Serious: 20%
  • Cost of regulatory compliance
    • None: 31%
    • Mild: 37%
    • Serious: 32%
  • Technology-related issues
    • None: 14%
    • Mild: 58%
    • Serious: 28%
  • Maintaining pace with change
    • None: 11%
    • Mild: 69%
    • Serious: 20%

Q9 – Will the recent presidential election have any impact on your business decisions?:

  • Great: 17%
  • Moderate: 65%
  • Not at all: 18%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *