The last few years have taught us that it is possible for businesses to grow and thrive despite government erraticism. Lately we have seen relative strength in the private sector, in stark contrast to the frailty of many of the world’s governments: Greece and Italy are broke, Japan and many European countries are wobbly, and it seems that not a month goes by without the U.S. government teetering on the edge of a shutdown.
We’re becoming accustomed to uncertainty, which has become the only inevitable certainty. Understandably, business owners are frustrated, but their optimism despite these challenges is indicative that they have come to accept variability and are becoming more immune to economic drama unfolding across the world.
A tougher challenge for business owners is access to capital, which can be influenced by both the banks and government. According to our survey, lack of access to capital and capital programs is the biggest challenge faced by business owners. Fully one-third of L.A. respondents believe that lack of access to capital is what’s hurting small businesses most. A clear majority of L.A. respondents feel that California should be actively involved in increasing access to capital: 70 percent said that the state should work to make capital more accessible to businesses, and the same percentage felt that they didn’t have access to information about available capital programs in California.
Challenges in California are not limited to capital programs: Residents feel an overall sense of dissatisfaction with state government policies. When asked whether their state supports policies that benefit businesses, L.A. respondents gave California some of the lowest scores in the country; 87 percent of L.A.-area small-business owners responded that the policies supported by California are not beneficial to their business, compared with a nationwide average of 50 percent.
Having lived with uncertainty for so long, business owners in the city of Los Angeles, California and the rest of the nation are increasingly unaffected by economic and political volatility. This is good news, but for increased growth, one certainty is a necessity: We must find ways to help business owners access the capital they need to thrive.
To get the complete outlook from the annual survey, check out the full 2013 Economic Forecast Survey by Pepperdine University and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. here:
Here’s to great business for your company in 2013!
Jeff Stibel is chairman and chief executive of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. in Malibu.
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