Professor Erick Eschker of the Department of Economics at Humboldt State University has just released “Humboldt County Entrepreneur Annual Survey Report, 2012.” This is the second analysis from the ongoing survey of local entrepreneurs that began in 2011.
The report reveals factors that are associated with successful new businesses. “We have been tracking businesses that began in 2010 in order to see why some are profitable and others are not,” said Eschker. “Humboldt County is a remote, rural region. Our survey is meant to capture the unique features of local businesses.”
The research finds that prior business experience leads to more successful businesses. Success is defined in a number of ways, including turning a profit, hiring more employees, expanding, and remaining in business. Other keys to business success are receiving business licensing aid, receiving advertising and marketing assistance, getting funding help, and managing time efficiently.
“We explicitly wanted to find out which types of assistance would best help new businesses. We want to provide practical, effective advice for business development agencies,” said Eschker.
The report also contains a business forecast. Business owners were asked “Do you think that six months from now general business conditions will be better for you than they are now, about the same, or worse?” Very few responded “worse” and there was an even split between “better” and “about the same.” As a result, Eschker characterizes the short-run outlook for future economic conditions in Humboldt County as being somewhat favorable.
Professor Gregg Gold, Chair of the Department of Psychology, took the lead on the survey portion of the project. Graduate students in psychology and an undergraduate economics student rounded out the research team.
The project was funded by the County of Humboldt Headwaters Fund and The North Coast Small Business Development Center. HSU’s departments of Economics and Psychology provided additional support. The total project budget was $7,000. “This is a great example of a helpful partnership between the campus and the community,” Eschker said.