SalesTech Star

Small Business Owners Are More Resilient, According to a Truist Survey

Owners are concerned about the economy and inflation, but remain resilient

Small business owners have taken many actions to overcome the challenges they are facing to grow their business due to economic uncertainty and rising inflation, according to Truist annual Small Business Pulse Survey of small businesses (annual revenue between $100K$2M).

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The economy and inflation are top of mind

Rising inflation, rising costs and economic uncertainty are more pressing issues for small business owners than finding new customers. The top business concerns include the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (31%), inflation (28%), rising costs (28%), economic uncertainty (25%).

Additionally, most small businesses have recently been hard hit by supply chain issues and labor shortages.

  • 67% said their workforce has changed over the past year, and 24% have open jobs, 23% lost key workers and 18% shifted to contractors.
  • 65% experienced issues with supply chain in the past year, which impacted their businesses in many ways, including lower profitability (45%), reduced sales (42%), and loss of customers (36%).

Still, small business owners are more resilient to combat these challenges

Small business owners have taken many actions to overcome the issues and challenges they have faced the past few years:

  • Supply chain issues have prompted small business owners to search for new supply sources (48%), use local suppliers (45%) and adjust delivery schedules (37%).
  • 81% have taken action to retain employees through increased wages (41%), offered remote work (27%), provided training (22%), and offered additional vacation time (21%).
  • 90% have taken action to address for inflation by accepting lower profits (39%), changing purchasing to reduce expenses (36%) and reevaluating pricing (35%).

Additionally, small business owners have made contingency plans for turbulent times and are prepared for unplanned events, including loss of key supplier (60%), loss of key employee (59%), loss of key customer (58%), economic downturn (58%) and natural disaster (51%).

“It’s encouraging to hear that while uncertainties in the market remain, small businesses are being proactive to make investments to achieve business goals,” said Scott Stearsman, head of small business for Truist. “This resiliency we’re seeing indicates the COVID-19 pandemic helped our small business leaders learn to better prepare for the unforseen, and continue to be inspired to build better lives and communities.”

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Despite this uncertainty, small business owners are optimistic about their financial well-being

Many small business owners are more positive about their financial future than they have been compared to the past three years, according to the survey. Sixty-seven percent are optimistic about their financial well-being, which is a 7% increase compared to 2021, and an 18% increase compared to 2020.

“Our survey found that they are more optmistic about their finances than at any time in the past three years, and this includes 2019, even before the pandemic,” said Stearsman. “Despite the fact that small business owners are facing many challenges and concerns, their future financial well-being is not one of them.”

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