Chicago, IL – To combat challenges created by uncertain economic conditions, Chicagoland small businesses plan to expand business operations in 2016 to continue revenue growth.

The results of the second annual Chicagoland Small Business Economic Outlook Survey, conducted by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business, reveal that local business owners are realistic about the current state of business. Business owners have lost confidence in the local, state and national economies over the past year, and revenue growth remains their top concern.

“Only 28 percent of business owners surveyed believe Chicagoland’s economy will strengthen over the next year, down from 42 percent last year,” said Katie Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Programs at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “These survey results show us that in order to combat current economic conditions and restrictive public policies, business owners are forced to be realistic and find new ways to expand their business operations.”

Key takeaways from the 2016 Chicagoland Small Business Outlook Survey:

  • Small businesses are significantly less confident than last year in the economy at the local, state and national levels
  • More than three in four respondents plan to grow their business
  • 38 percent expect to hire additional workers
  • 52 percent plan to expand within Illinois (up from 45 percent last year)
  • Nearly one half of respondents feel negatively impacted by local taxation
  • The top three areas small businesses need support are marketing, technology and business planning

“Revenue growth remains a top concern for small businesses,” said Dr. Alexander Krasnikov, assistant professor, Loyola University Chicago's Quinlan School of Business. “These businesses are increasingly self-reliant, looking to grow through investment in things like marketing and tech platforms, hiring part-time employees, and taking on more clients.”

Given the vital role small businesses play in creating jobs and anchoring communities, this study will be used to better understand the needs and expectations of local small businesses and entrepreneurs and help shape Chamber programs and policies to best suit the needs of small businesses in Chicagoland.

“Small businesses are the heart of Chicago's neighborhood economy and we must continue providing them with resources they need to thrive,” said Kurt Summers, Treasurer of the City of Chicago. “I am pleased to see the results that highlight over 50 percent of small business owners surveyed are planning on expanding in Illinois in 2016. The Treasurer's Office is committed to providing new and innovative ways to help small business owners access capital in order to grow and expand in Our Chicago.”

The 2016 Chicagoland Small Business Outlook Survey was conducted electronically in October and November of 2015, with 574 small businesses participating. Several partners contributed to the survey, including the Better Business Bureau, Constant Contact, Blue Daring and the Office of the City Treasurer.

Click here to view the full survey results.

About the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce combines the power of people with our legacy of leadership and business advocacy to drive a dynamic economy. We focus on delivering value for our members, making Chicagoland a world-class place to live and work. Visit

About Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business
The Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago educates responsible leaders who strengthen the local and global business system. We draw on the resources of our world-class location in the heart of Chicago and of our industry-leading faculty to offer a nationally ranked business education.