The National Federation of Independent Business has released its Small Business Problems & Priorities Survey in which 4,044 small businesses rank their toughest problems.
The cost of health care has had a lock on the number one spot since 1986, and 47% of survey respondents cite the problem as 'critical.' "No other single problem can touch health costs in terms of either the unanimity or intensity of concern it generates among small business owners," according to William J. Dennis, Senior Research Fellow at the NFIB Education Foundation and author of the study. "Complaints about high health insurance costs are as common among those providing coverage as those who can't begin to afford it."
The cost of taxes occupies the 2nd (federal taxes on income), 5th (social security taxes), and 6th (state taxes on income) spots, giving taxes as a whole an even greater priority than health care costs.
Other major concerns realized by the study include Unreasonable Government Regulations (4th), Workers' Compensation Costs (7th), Federal Paperwork (8th), Cash Flow (9th), and Cost of Natural Gas, Gasoline, and Oil (10th).
At least we can be relieved that the very last thing on the minds of concerned small business owners is Y2K problems, ranking 75th on the list of 75 problems.