Small business owners say their main concern is weak customer demand – not the regulatory environment.

Owners polled said the number one thing that would lead to creating jobs – eliminate incentives to move jobs overseas. Reducing regulations came in fifth place.

Small business owners see government standards as an important tool to level the playing field with big business, according to the report from the American Sustainable Business Council, the Main Street Alliance and the Small Business Majority.

The report was based on a national survey of 500 small business owners.

“These survey results underscore what Main Street small business owners have been saying all along: we need more customers, more demand, not deregulation,” said Jim Houser, a leader with the Main Street Alliance. “In fact, I’ve seen first-hand from over 35 years in the auto industry that smart standards help create jobs and promote innovation in the U.S. economy.”

“Despite the heated rhetoric, regulations simply aren’t small businesses’ top concern,” said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. “Small businesses can be the jobs engine we need to jumpstart the economy, but not if legislators are focusing on something that isn’t their top problem. Policymakers should listen to what real small businesses are saying and act accordingly.”

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Key findings from the survey include:

– 34 percent of small business owners cited weak customer demand as their most important problem.

– Top response was eliminated incentives to move jobs overseas at 24 percent.

– 78 percent of small business owners believe some standards are important to protect small businesses from unfair competition and 76 percent believe regulations on the books should be enforced.

– 78 percent believe that rules to prevent health insurance companies from increasing rates excessively are necessary. 84 percent support food safety standards and 80 percent support product safety standards.

– 73 percent of respondents believe we should allow for one-stop electronic filing of government paperwork.