WARREN — A majority of Michigan’s small- and mid-size businesses have experienced financial growth and stability over the past year, with just 11 percent of companies reporting less growth, according to the latest member survey by the Michigan Business and Professional Association, conducted in cooperation with the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center at Grand Valley State University,
When asked, “How would you describe the financial state of your business over the past year?” respondents answered as follows:
* 42 percent of member companies said growing
* 47 percent reported stability
* 11 percent said shrinking
The survey also found that a majority of respondents pointed to an uncertain economic climate as the most significant factor interfering with their business growth, followed by concerns over medical insurance costs and health care reform.
“The results clearly indicate to us that the outlook for Michigan business continues to look brighter,” said MBPA president and CEO Jennifer Kluge. “The slowly recovering economy appears to be the only thing standing in the way to full-scale growth for our member companies.”
Eighty-three percent of MBPA member companies, the survey shows, have taken a wide variety of steps to maintain and grow their businesses over the past year, ranging from adjusting staffing levels, growing sales and marketing activity, and making improvements to products and services. Company owners surveyed also linked their growth and stability to efforts on their own part, putting in longer hours, building networking relationships, and performing community service. “Not giving up,” as one member remarked.
Even as Michigan’s unemployment rate remains high (8.9 percent seasonally adjusted) in comparison to surrounding states, a number of survey respondents expressed concern over the lack of start-up businesses, and not being able to recruit and hire qualified people, specifically in the engineering and technical fields.
“The state of Michigan is not a target state for young people going into business,” said one business owner. “We are watching future employers go elsewhere for business opportunities. We must focus on keeping these young entrepreneurs in Michigan.”
The MBPA is the largest business organization of small to medium-sized businesses in Michigan, representing more than 20,000 members who employ over 160,000 persons. Members include attorneys, physicians, architects, accountants, construction companies, banks, retail, wholesalers and manufacturers.