Small-business owners are struggling to grow and hire — and they're blaming difficulties in securing financing, according to a Pepperdine University business school survey.

More than 60% of businesses surveyed with revenues under $5 million said trouble in securing financing was limiting their growth potential, and 55% said that it restricted their plans to increase their workforce.

Almost 75% of businesses with less than $5 million in revenue said it would be hard to secure either equity or debt financing. Half of businesses with between $5 million and $100 million in revenue said it would be difficult to secure debt financing while 56% of businesses that size said it would be hard to get equity financing.

Nevada had the highest percentage of businesses at 75% claiming that they were facing limited growth due to financing problems. New Mexico came in second at almost 73%, while Maryland was third at more than 70%.

The survey also found that 46% of business owners with revenues under $5 million transferred personal assets to their business over the prior six months, compared with 25% of business owners with revenue between $5 million and $100 million. About 68% of business owners said they transferred funds from personal savings or investments.

The first-quarter survey included almost 6,000 responses collected from April 3 to April 10 from owners of private businesses with revenues up to $100 million. The survey was part of the Pepperdine Private Capital Access Index, which will be a quarterly indicator produced by the Graziadio School of Business and Management with Dun & Bradstreet Credibility.

The index, which will be released for the first time during the summer, will gauge small- and medium-sized businesses' financing needs and access to private capital, Pepperdine University said in a news release received on Monday.

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