What's the biggest challenge facing Florida small business owners?
Health care costs, rising interest rates and hiring concerns all loom large.
But nothing tops their anxiety over where the local economy is headed and the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
About 27 percent of business owners surveyed by TD Bank said the national election and ushering in a new presidential administration will be their biggest operational challenge over the next 12 months. An identical percentage cited local/regional economic uncertainty as their No. 1 issue.
The next biggest concern was the cost of health care (23 percent) followed by employment/hiring (9 percent), rising real estate prices (8 percent) and rising interest rates (7 percent).
Though Clinton and Trump have been bullish about what their respective presidencies would mean for the economy, only 12 percent of the small business owners in both South and Central Florida believe this will be their best year yet.
Moreover, just 6 percent of the Central Florida business owners expect to grow their workforce next year, compared with 13 percent of their counterparts in South Florida, the survey found.
Ernie Diaz, regional president for metro Florida at TD Bank, indicated he wasn't surprised with the results.
"Small business owners typically are cautious about protecting their bottom line and can be more greatly impacted by economic shifts than large corporations," Diaz said. "That's why it is no surprise that they perceive the general uncertainty around the national economy, interest rates and the upcoming election as challenges to their operations."