Manassas Journal Messenger | Study says: State good for small businesses

Virginia is good for small business.

So states a report by the The National Federation of Independent Business, a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization for small and independent business.

A recent study by the federation claims Virginia compared favorably to neighboring states.

The study did not come as a surprise to Susan Jacobs, chairwoman of the Prince William – Greater Manassas Chamber of Commerce.

Growth is good for business, she said.

“Business conditions in Prince William are very good,” Jacobs said.

“As the communities grow, people want the services,” she said.

In Virginia, 50.9 percent of the survey respondents said that their communities, including government officials, bankers, media outlets and community organizations were “supportive” or “highly supportive” of small businesses.

In Maryland, 49.1 percent of respondents said the same was true.

Tennessee results showed that 47 percent of small business owners found supportive environment, 50 percent of small business owners felt support from their communities in North Carolina, according to the report.

Guy Hinkler, the owner of V2 Systems, a Manassas company of information technology professionals, agreed with the study and credited county, state and national government officials for the friendly business climate.

“I planted my business here. I feel like I’m getting very well supported by elected leaders” Hinkler said.

Tim Jackson, a software engineer, founded his company in Prince William County for many of the same reasons. He also considered Stafford County.

“We chose to locate MDA Technologies in Prince William County five years ago because of the favorable business climate and the potential we saw for growth,” said Jackson, a former chairman of the Prince William Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Virginia and North Carolina small businesses were about even, at 15.7 and 14.3 percent respectively, in saying that they found the same entities “not supportive” or “not at all supportive.”

Maryland and Tennessee were a few percentage points off the lead.

Hinkler said he didn’t believe those percentages would hold up locally.

“Prince William County is the fastest growing county in the United States of America,” Hinkler claims. “There are plenty of opportunities to choose from. Northern Virginia is the core of the booming region.”

Jackson’s business showed a 40 percent revenue growth which couldn’t have happened without support and a favorable business climate.

“Because of the federal government presence as well as private sector opportunities, I believe that Prince William County is the epicenter for business,” Jackson said.

On the down side, the study showed that employee benefits were a drag on small businesses.

Eighty-five percent of Virginia small businesses reported that employee benefits put more cost pressure in their companies than wages. Jacobs said she thought health insurance was the biggest drag on local businesses, which was consistent with the report.

Employee health premiums are rising faster than other insurance costs, according to the report.

Small businesses in the states studied were about even in saying that the prices they paid for goods and services remained steady.

Average selling prices “improved somewhat” or “stayed about the same,” according to the report.


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