Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) Survey Reveals Another Decline in Q3 Optimism

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The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey for the third quarter of 2018, conducted by the City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, saw another third-quarter decline in optimism – with an intriguing pattern emerging, said Lewis Sheats, associate professor of practice in entrepreneurship in the Poole College of Management and executive director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic.

Among the entrepreneurs participating in this third-quarter survey, a lower percentage, 83.6 percent versus 91.8 percent in the second quarter of 2018, report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. In terms of capital spending, a slightly lower percentage, 57.2 percent in the third quarter versus 60.6 percent in the second quarter, anticipate increases; for employment, a lower percentage, 64.9 percent in the third quarter versus 73.8 percent in the second quarter, anticipate increases.

“This is really intriguing and, as we’ve highlighted since the beginning of this project back in 2014, the strength of this outlook index is that we can identify trends over time. So, we’ve now seen one more consecutive third quarter with declining optimism,” Sheats said.

“We saw this in 2015, 2017, and now 2018. The outlook index is relatively level in the first and second quarters, and then declines in the third quarter,” he said.

“These data now seem to support the inference that within our entrepreneurship ecosystem, the first and second quarters are strong with regards to forward-looking optimism. But there is something systematic about the third and fourth quarters, in which ventures pull back a bit and show less optimism looking forward. This will be really interesting to explore in future iterations of the QuOTE survey. This is why we collect these data,” Sheats said.

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 at Poole College, 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 third quarter of 2018, show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment:

2018 Q3 2018 Q2
Increase No Change Decrease Increase No Change Decrease
How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months?

 

  83.6%   14.6%   1.8%  91.8%  6.6%  1.6%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months?

 

  57.2%   43.7%   3.6%  60.6%  37.8%  1.6%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months?

 

  64.9%   33.3%   1.8%  73.8%  24.6%  1.6%

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
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

View a full report on the findings here.

The City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, in collaboration with the NC State Poole College of Management, plan to expand the 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.

Media Contacts

  • Lewis Sheats, 919/513-0356; lewissheats@ncsu.edu
  • Dr. Jeff Pollack, 919/515-8699; jeff_pollack@ncsu.edu
  • Anna Rzewnicki, Communications, 919/513-4478; amrzewni@ncsu.edu

 

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