October 10, 2011 // Franchising.com // ORLANDO, Fla. - Small-business owners say independence and potential for personal growth remain the top reasons to start a new company – even during the current economic downturn, according to a national survey released today by U.S. Lawns.
Seventy-four percent of entrepreneurs surveyed say the prolonged recession hasn’t doused their enthusiasm for going it alone and, in fact, 59 percent report business is better this year than in 2010. Such optimism, according to U.S. Lawns’ Grassroots Business Climate Survey of owner-operators nationwide, extends into the new year, with three-quarters of respondents forecasting continued improvement in 2012.
“A strong business model and support system are key to any small business’ success,” said Ken Hutcheson, U.S. Lawns president. “Having the right tools is vital to weathering economic ups and downs, and can help new businesses achieve longevity.”
Despite the positive outlook, small-business owners acknowledged some issues. Twenty-four percent of respondents anticipate increased demand by existing customers, while 67 percent expect customers to maintain existing level of services. The survey also found challenges over controlling operating costs (20 percent) and recruiting and retaining employees (27 percent).
“Small-business owners are looking toward a more productive year in 2012, but many also realize there are some lingering impediments beyond their direct control,” Hutcheson said. “Access to commercial credit remains the primary challenge, followed by sustained higher costs for fuel, equipment and employment.”
Still, 75 percent of those surveyed anticipate enough business growth to require additional hiring of one or two crews within the next six months and another 10 percent forecast the addition of three or more crews.
U.S. Lawns, which Entrepreneur magazine ranks as one of the nation’s fastest-growing franchisors, surveyed its network of independent owner-operators in September. The company has more than 240 franchises spread throughout the country. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 7.1 at the 90 percent confidence level.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011, U.S. Lawns operates a network of more than 240 franchisees providing commercial landscape-management and snow and ice management to corporate campuses, shopping centers, industrial parks, multi-family residential communities and other commercial customers in all 48 contiguous states. For more information, visit www.uslawns.com.