Staying optimistic during difficult and challenging times is nothing new for small business owners and entrepreneurs. The last eighteen months or so have been no exception. During that time, small business owners have been assaulted by inflation, a severe worker shortage, and supply chain difficulties. Despite these roadblocks, small business owners remain resilient and are rising to the challenges. In a recent report by the US Chamber of Commerce and MetLife, that resiliency and determination has come to the forefront. The following is taken directly from that recently published report:
The MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index rose to 66.8 from 64.1 last quarter. This score is closer to pre-pandemic index scores but remains below findings in Q1 2020 (71.7).
- Forty-four percent of small businesses cite inflation as the biggest challenge facing small business owners, up from 33% last quarter and from 19% when the question was first asked in Q3 2021.
Two-thirds (66%) of small business owners report their business is in good health. This marks a five-point increase from Q1 2022 (61%) and puts this measure on par with Q1 2020 (65%), the last pre-pandemic reading.
- Small business owners report higher levels of competition than last quarter (39% vs. 30%), and say they are spending more time on licensing, compliance, or other government requirements (37% vs. 29%).
- Two-thirds (66%) anticipate their revenue to increase over the next year. Forty-three percent intend to hire more staff in the next year, up from 37% last quarter.
- Thirty-four percent of small businesses report offering employees greater flexibility and 33% say they have increased wages over the past year to improve retention and attract new talent.
- 50% of small business owners say they are working more hours now than they were a year ago. This is a 20-percentage point increase compared to when the question was first asked in Q2 2017.
Many small businesses (68%) report continued concern over the impact of COVID-19 on their business. However, just one in six (15%) small businesses cite COVID-19 as a top challenge. This marks the lowest level since we first asked the question in Q3 2021.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer