In July and August 2018, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce conducted a self-selecting online survey amongst its business members. Members in the Chamber’s database were emailed an invitation to participate by Senior Vice President of Advocacy Rebecca Montgomery.

See survey results here.

Of the business owners responding, 74% have 50 employees or fewer; of those, 40% have 10 employees or fewer. These percentages reflect our overall membership.

Most respondents were in professional services, non-profits or hospitality industries. Summaries of their responses are below.

REGULATIONS / MANDATES

The Affordable Care Act (health insurance premiums), property and sales taxes were top barriers in their business growth.

Between 23-28% say they have trouble with permitting, zoning, etc. at the City level. They pointed out difficult, antiquated and slow processes and systems.

Between 31-38% say federal mandates affect business, and examples are varied as industries.

EDUCATION

While 60% or more say they value bachelor’s degrees, almost as many (56-59%) need trade and technical certifications. Themes in the comments include employees needing more soft skills like communication, hands-on training, basic business understanding and personal finance knowledge. In a list ranking importance of public policy issues, education (K-12) was noted as the most important followed by transportation and workforce development / career readiness.

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation issues among respondents are the expected: lack of mass transit for employees, construction and congestion, and lack of parking for deliveries, employees or customers.

In light of that, more than 70% support managed lanes, and more than 90% support commuter and high-speed rail.

HEALTH CARE

94% of business owners say cost is the main issue, followed by access.

Comments on containing health care costs included more pressure on drug companies to reduce costs, keeping ACA for small businesses and others who cannot qualify or afford insurance, and expanding government assistance.

ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS

Only 18-20% said environmental regulations were affecting their businesses; comments indicate those mostly involve water use and waste water regulations.

Environmental issues important to the respondents are recycling (paper and plastic) 62-68%, followed by water conservation.

Only 20-25% say renewables factor into their businesses, and of that, most is solar and wind.