Columbus Chamber Survey: 75 Percent of Small Businesses Plan to Hire in the Next Year

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Positive news coincides with National Small Business Week

Approximately 75 percent of small businesses in the Columbus Region plan to add to their staffs in the next year, according to a recent, brief survey conducted by the Columbus Chamber. This is promising news, as National Small Business Week (May 20-26) kicks off, celebrating companies with fewer than 500 full-time employees.

“Small businesses are a major force in the Columbus Region’s economic development, accounting for the majority of companies located here and nearly half of employment in the region,” said Michael Dalby, president and CEO, Columbus Chamber. “It’s beneficial to hear directly from these businesses about their challenges and opportunities, so we can better assist them and help them grow.”

In the Columbus Region, small businesses represent 94 percent of all companies and 42 percent of total employment. Results of the Chamber’s survey indicate:

  • Of the 75 percent planning to add to their staffs in the next year, half of businesses surveyed plan to hire between 1 and 5 employees – still significant growth considering the size and scope of small businesses in the region.
  • Businesses cited various factors having a positive impact on their success in the region, including a central location/market access (38.2 percent), stable economy (32.4 percent) and low cost of doing business (28 percent).
  • Cost and availability of health insurance was the primary challenge mentioned by the companies surveyed, with 31.7 percent of respondents ranking it “most impactful.” Local and national economic factors followed close behind, ranking 28.8 and 27.2 percent, respectively.
  • Although small businesses are classified as those with fewer than 500 full-time employees, approximately 80 percent of businesses surveyed have fewer than 50 employees. Thirty percent have staffs of four or less.

The Columbus Chamber is small business focused. Ninety percent of the Chamber’s nearly 2,000 members are small businesses, and no other local organization is as deeply connected to this group as the Chamber. Each year, the Chamber staff conducts more than 1,000 one-on-one consultative meetings with businesses—most of which fall into the category of 500 or fewer employees. Opportunities and concerns that have come to light during these discussions mirror the results of the survey.

“Whether it is through surveys, other research, one-on-one connections, or events, the Columbus Chamber keeps its finger on the pulse of small business. And we continually evolve our programs and services to better serve them,” Dalby said.

The Chamber provides small businesses with connections to resources like access to capital, advisory boards and business plan development to encourage small business growth. For example, the Chamber’s Small Business Council plays a key role in ensuring that small businesses have a big voice in the region. And through the Chamber’s new Entrepreneur Program, start-ups are paired with a personal consultant from the Chamber team. is a central, interactive website that provides access to resources and opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses.

For more information on the Columbus Chamber and its resources for small business, visit

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Michelle Bretscher
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