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​Contact: Ann Hatch
214-378-1819; ahatch@dcccd.edu

For immediate release — May 5, 2015

(DALLAS) — Employees with interpersonal skills are the top need cited by small businesses in Texas, based on a poll released May 4 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on the first day of National Small Business Week. For the second consecutive year, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has partnered with Texas Small Business Centers across the state to conduct the study, titled the Texas Small Business Needs Assessment Poll.

The North Texas Small Business Development Center and other SBDCs across Texas assisted with the study. The North Texas SBDC is headquartered at the Bill J. Priest campus of El Centro College; it is a partnership program between the Dallas County Community College District and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The North Texas SBDC’s network serves the needs of established and start-up small businesses in the 49-county area of northeast and north central Texas.

The annual poll, conducted during the last three months of 2014, surveyed more than 1,400 small business owners from more than 100 counties in Texas; most were microbusinesses with one to five employees, and 35 percent were minority- and women-owned businesses. The survey asked 11 key questions focusing on topics such as the size of the firm, performance, strategy, financing and the employee skills gap. The data collected highlight challenges, successes and changes for small business owners and also help identify emerging issues, areas of strength and needed improvements in the Texas small business community.

In the 2015 survey, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ results, finding the right employees ranked as the top concern facing Texas small businesses’ ability to grow. Businesses listed interpersonal skills as their number one ability for employees, followed by sales and marketing skills, punctuality and reliability.

“A lot of emphasis is placed on educating young people for the workforce through vocational training, but what’s clear from our poll is that soft skills, like professionalism and reliability, are important, too,” said Emily Ryder Perlmeter, a community development analyst with the Dallas Fed.

The study also found that access to credit was an important issue affecting business growth. Minority- or women-owned business are much more likely to rely on personal savings and credit cards than non-MWBEs, which rely more on commercial bank loans.

“The SBDCs, including ours at the Bill J. Priest campus, enlisted the help of area chambers of commerce to help market the poll to their membership,” said Katrina Wade-Miller, associate regional director for the North Texas SBDC. “The momentum of last year’s poll, coupled with an aggressive approach this year, yielded increased response rates for the 2015 survey, which helps us work with small businesses to help them meet their needs.”

The second annual study is available online: Texas Small Business Needs Assessment Poll 2015 (PDF - 530KB).

For more information, contact Wade-Miller with the North Texas SBDC at 214-860-5831, or Alexander Johnson with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas at 214-922-5288 or alexander.johnson@dal.frb.org.

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