Report shows more positive small business sentiment in 2021 in Hampton Roads

Business

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly hard on small businesses, but parts of Hampton Roads have still made the top of a tech company’s list for positive business sentiment for the new year.

The new report from tech company Smart Asset lists the top 10 metro areas that may see strong small business sentiments in 2021. The Norfolk-Newport News-Virginia Beach metro area made the top five.

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Jim Carroll, the executive director of the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center and vice president of small business for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, said while it’s great our area made the list, the report doesn’t offer any guarantees.

This data comes from a survey, the Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey. The report also mentions the survey is experimental, so sampling errors tend to be high relative to other Census-reported data. 

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The report shows the Norfolk-Newport News-Virginia Beach metro area leads the study in terms of its percentage of small businesses looking to hire people, at 40%.

However, it shows those Hampton Roads cities fall behind in areas such as businesses having at least three months of cash on hand.

“That’s an issue of concern,” Carroll said. “You need to have that cash on hand in order to conduct business.”

The report also suggests the Norfolk-Newport News-Virginia Beach metro fell behind in terms of returning to normal operation levels in six months, or ever.

“In my opinion, the virus gets a vote so you can have a course of action laid out but it could all change literally at the drop of a hat,” Carroll warns.

Carroll laid out a suggestive action plan going into 2021 for small business owners.

“I would recommend that they [business owners] sit down and think it through before taking any action. Put together a best-case scenario, worst-case… What are going to be your expenses? What expenses can you cut? How can you get more people into your store? What prices can you charge?”

Carroll also mentions consumers should look to shop small in 2021 to keep the local economy thriving. 

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He said our economy is still thriving because of three reasons.

“DOD spending is still continuing and the port is still doing business. I look out of my office and I can still see the ports in Portsmouth and they’re busy, moving containers all over the place,” he said. “Tourism has taken a hit, but the region has shown its resiliency by Norfolk and Virginia Beach coming together with their convention and visitor’s bureaus and coming out with a consolidated advertising campaign. That has had tremendous impact.”

To read the full report, click here.


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