Small Business Worries — Quarter 1 of 2024

MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce do a quarterly survey of small businesses. The Small Business Index of the first quarter of 2024 was just released. It finds small business owner confidence at 62.3. That’s close to the fourth quarter of 2023’s score of 61.3.

The score — according to MetLife and the Chamber — is indicative of a stable business climate as more small businesses are seeing an improving economy.  

  • 32% of small business owners say the U.S. economy is in good health
  • That’s up 7% from the last quarter of 2023
  • 38% say their local economy is in good health
  • That’s up 8% from the last quarter of 2023

Tom Sullivan is the vice president of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber. He said small businesses consider cybersecurity and supply chain problems as the biggest threat to their businesses.

“Small businesses’ perceptions of the economy are drifting upward, with businesses reporting being comfortable with their cash flow and the health of their business,” Sullivan said. “While many business owners have continued to struggle with high prices and rising wages, recent jobs reports are positive. While headwinds remain, confidence is ticking upward and small businesses are more resilient and prepared for unforeseen challenges.”

Here are the top threats and the biggest concerns of small businesses:

  • 60% worry about cybersecurity
  • 58% say the biggest concern is a breakdown of the supply chain
  • 54% worry about another pandemic
  • 45% are concerned about the weather
  • 42% worry about theft
  • 39% say natural disasters are the top concern
  • 37% said acts of terror are their biggest worry

The good news is that 71% of the small businesses surveyed said they are adequately prepared for threats that might come in the future. And if things get tough, 80% said they are prepared to change course if needed.

Small businesses have prepared for potential threats in a number of ways:

  • 62% are contributing to rainy day funds
  • 56% have installed surveillance
  • 56% are training staff on cybersecurity
  • 43% have plans in place for future threats
  • 38% have purchased insurance to help cover them
  • 35% are expanding and finding other supply chains

As for the state of their businesses:

  • Most are satisfied with their cash flow and the health of the business
  • 65% say the overall health of the business is good
  • 67% are happy with their cash flow

Source link: Insurance Journal —

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