Small businesses facing these two daunting challenges

The decision to become a small business owner or entrepreneur is not one that is ever taken lightly. Even in the best of economic times a small business faces obstacles and challenges that are far from simple to solve. In these demanding times, however, the challenges can become even more daunting without any real clear path to take to overcome them. All a business can do, it seems, is hang in there and keep up the good fight every day. In a recent survey of US small businesses, the US Chamber of Commerce and MetLife have uncovered the two most daunting challenges currently facing small business owners. The following data is taken directly from their published survey.

  • According to new data from the Q1 2022 MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index (SBI), over half of small businesses (56%) say they are concerned about recruiting enough new employees to fill open positions, and 57% are concerned about employee retention.

  • Larger small businesses (20-499 employees), in particular, find employee retention a challenge: they rank employee retention (21%) alongside inflation (24%), supply chain disruptions (25%), and COVID-19 (26%) as their highest concerns.

    • increasing work schedule flexibility (37%)
    • increasing wages (31%) and
    • providing employees with more opportunities to learn/grow (29%).

      A near record-high of 37% of small businesses surveyed plan to increase staff this year.A majority (60%) of small businesses say they have implemented new changes over the past year to improve employee retention, including:  Looking ahead, less than half (48%) of small businesses agree that worker shortages across the country will be resolved in 2022. But most small businesses feel they are well placed to win the war for talent: a majority said their business has a clear plan in place to retain their employees (76%) or find and attract new ones (68%).

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  • According to the Index, the vast majority (85%) of small business owners are concerned about the impact of inflation. More than two in three businesses (67%) report having to raise prices to cope with inflation.

  • One in three (33%) small business owners now rank inflation as their biggest challenge, up from 23% last quarter. Other top challenges include:

    • Supply chain disruptions (26%), jumping eight percentage points since last quarter
    • COVID-19 safety protocols/compliance (24%)
    • Revenue (21%)
    • Employee well-being/morale (14%).

-Written by Kevin Sawyer