Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) Reveals a Slight Decline in Q4 2018 Optimism

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The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey for the fourth quarter of 2018, conducted by the City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, finds a slight decline in optimism in the fourth quarter – and, the pattern of decline continues.

Among the entrepreneurs participating in this survey, a slightly lower percentage 81.5 percent (vs. 83.6 percent in Q3 2018) report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. In terms of capital spending, a lower percentage, 53.1 percent (vs. 57.2 percent), anticipate increases, while for employment a slightly lower percentage, 64.2 percent (vs. 64.9 percent) anticipate increases.

“We’ve now seen a slight decline in the latter half of the year in three of the last four years,” said Lewis Sheats, associate professor of practice in entrepreneurship in the NC State University Poole College of Management and executive director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic. “It is likely that, based on the patterns we have observed over the past seventeen quarters, there is something systematic about our ecosystem in the second half of the year.”

Sheats notes that, “Perhaps the entrepreneurial ventures in our ecosystem do all their planning and forecasting early in the year and pull back a bit in the third and fourth quarters. Now that we have these data and can see the patterns emerge, we can explore possible reasons for what we are experiencing. We don’t know yet whether a second half of the year decline is a negative sign or just an artifact of the ventures here in our area.”

The City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, in conjunction with the Poole College of Management, jointly conduct the quarterly survey, which helps entrepreneurial companies in the Triangle anticipate business decisions and plan for growth. Jeff Pollack, an associate professor in the Poole College of Management, adapted the survey, and analyzed the data, based on the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of American companies that conducts a similar survey nationally with large companies.

The following survey results, from the fourth quarter of 2018, show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment:

2018 Q4

2018 Q3

Increase

No Change

Decrease

Increase

No Change

Decrease

How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months?

 

  81.5%   14.8%   3.7%   83.6%   14.6%   1.8%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months?

 

  53.1%   39.5%   7.4%   57.2%   43.7%   3.6%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months?

 

  64.2%   32.1%   3.7%   64.9%   33.3%   1.8%

The results also provide an overall entrepreneurs’ economic outlook index, which is based on businesses’ projected six-month sales, capital spending, and employment figures. Over time, trends in this index can be viewed as indicating general optimism or pessimism about entrepreneurship in the Triangle.

Entrepreneurs’ Economic Outlook Index

Survey Date

Entrepreneurs’ Economic Outlook Index

Q4 2018 111.33
Q3 2018 114.67
Q2 2018 123.80
Q1 2018 123.23
Q4 2017 116.17
Q3 2017 114.00
Q2 2017 116.30
Q1 2017 117.07
Q4 2016 108.47
Q3 2016 110.70
Q2 2016 103.80
Q1 2016 110.77
Q4 2015 103.93
Q3 2015 107.80
Q2 2015 121.83
Q1 2015 117.68
Q4 2014 113.67

A full report on the findings is available online at http://entrepreneurshipclinic.ncsu.edu/clinic-research/

The City of Raleigh and the Entrepreneurship Clinic, as well as the Poole College of Management, plan to expand this survey. Triangle entrepreneurs who would like to participate should email their name, business, and email address to TheEClinic@ncsu.edu. Participation is free, and responses are confidential.

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.

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