rolled up newspaperA TD Bank survey on the hiring practices of small businesses has found that despite 35 percent of small businesses reporting to being at least somewhat understaffed, just 21 percent actually plan to hire more employees this year. Most (70 percent) are anticipating that their staffing levels will remain the same as they are.

When it comes to human resources, the biggest challenges facing small businesses include finding new and qualified candidates (42 percent) and training employees (22 percent). Another top issue is offering competitive wages, which was reported as a problem by 22 percent of small businesses, and laying off employees at 8 percent. Continuous turnover was reported as a major issue by a modest 5 percent of small businesses.

Other top challenges facing small businesses included declining sales, polled at a 29 percent response rate; health care and insurance costs at 27 percent; cash flow concerns at 23 percent; larger competitors at 12 percent; and rising energy costs at 10 percent.

Defining success as a small business varied with 24 percent defining success as doing something they enjoy, 23 percent reporting it as having a stable work/life balance, being your own boss came in at 17 percent, business profitability was at 10 percent, and creating local jobs finished out the rankings at 9 percent.

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in Economic Numbers]