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Quarterly Outlook Of Triangle Entrepreneurs (Quote) Dips Slightly From Q2 To Q3, Driven By Decreased Optimism In Anticipated Sales

Photo of the downtown Raleigh skyline
Photo of the downtown Raleigh skyline

The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey for Q3 2019, conducted by the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, finds a slight decrease in index number from Q2 to Q3.

Among the Triangle entrepreneurs participating in this survey, a much lower percentage 76.7 percent (vs. 90.7 percent in Q2 2019) report that they anticipate the next six months may bring increases in sales. In terms of capital spending, a tiny bit higher percentage, 56.7 percent (vs. 55.6 percent), anticipate increases, while for employment a slightly higher percentage, 61.7 percent (vs. 59.3 percent anticipate increases. Overall, the economic outlook index decreased slightly to 108.89 (down from 112.97 in Q2 2019).

“We’re seeing a trend emerge here, where there is a drop in most years (all except one year over the time we’ve been tracking it) in the overall index from Q2 to Q3. This time, the slight drop is driven by a decrease in optimism about anticipated sales,” said Lewis Sheats, associate professor of practice in entrepreneurship in the North Carolina State University Poole College of Management and executive director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic. Heading into Q3, it will be interesting to see how this trend plays out and if optimism in capital spending and employment growth continue to rise while sales expectations decrease.”

The Entrepreneurship Clinic, in conjunction with the Poole College, conduct the quarterly survey, which helps entrepreneurial companies in the Triangle anticipate business decisions and plan for growth. Jeff Pollack, an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Poole College, adapted the survey, and analyzed the data, based on the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of American companies that conducts a similar survey nationally with large companies.

The following survey results, from the third quarter of 2019, show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment.

-----------------2019 Q3----------------------------------2019 Q2-----------------
IncreaseNo ChangeDecreaseIncreaseNo ChangeDecrease
How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months? 76.7%16.7%6.7%90.7%5.6%3.7%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months? 56.7%33.3%10.0%55.6%38.8%5.6%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months?61.7%36.7%1.7%59.3%33.3%7.4%

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

Q3 2019108.89
Q2 2019112.97
Q1 2019112.03
Q4 2018111.33
Q3 2018114.67
Q2 2018123.8
Q1 2018123.23
Q4 2017116.17
Q3 2017114
Q2 2017116.3
Q1 2017117.07
Q4 2016108.47
Q3 2016110.7
Q2 2016103.8
Q1 2016110.77
Q4 2015103.93
Q3 2015107.8
Q2 2015121.83
Q1 2015117.68
Q4 2014113.67

A full report on the findings is available online at the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic website.

The Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Poole College of Management plan to expand the survey. Triangle entrepreneurs who would like to participate should send an email message with their name, business name, and email address to Participation is free, and responses are confidential.