Taxes, finding new customers, and hiring qualified employees are the top current concerns for Connecticut businesses according to the 2015 CBIA/Farmington Bank 1st Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey.

Almost a third (31%) said expanding their customer base was the greatest challenge to growth, followed by finding new workers (21%) and the tax burden (20%).

“Business owners face a lot of challenges, and as a state, we need to ensure that we can provide them with a growing customer base and talent supply,” says Peter Gioia, CBIA economist and vice president.

“Connecticut offers an educated workforce and great quality of life, but our tax structure and business climate are starting to make businesses think twice about being here.”

Credit conditions showed slight improvement over the previous quarter with 36% of businesses surveyed characterizing the lending climate as good or excellent and 50% calling it average.

Expectations for the next three months are also somewhat optimistic: 35% believe Connecticut’s lending climate will improve, and 47% expect things to stay the same.

“The state’s credit environment continues to improve and companies can plan on lending institutions being ready to help when the time comes,” says John Patrick, Jr., CEO and president of Farmington Bank.

Other key findings:

  • 51% of business owners surveyed say the outlook for their firm is stable; 39% expect slight or significant improvement
  • 29% of those who needed financing over the last three months used it for day-to-day operations

The 2015 CBIA/Farmington Bank 1st Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey was emailed to 1,800 Connecticut business leaders in January 2015. A total of 196 responded, for a 10.9% response rate and a margin of error of 7.1%.