Most small business owners say inflation and supply chain disruptions still are impacting their businesses, according to the Bank of America 2022 Small Business Owner Report (SBOR). The survey reveals that business owners are navigating operational challenges, including price increases and loss of customers. But, despite these challenges, their business outlook remains strong, with 64% anticipating their revenue will increase in the year ahead.
Conducted in the last two months, the survey shows:
- 88% of business owners say inflation is currently impacting their businesses
- 76% say supply chain issues are impacting their business
- 31% are confident the national economy will improve, down from 50% in 2021
- 39% are confident their local economies will improve, down from 56% in 2021
“Small business owners are seeking opportunities for expansion, despite concerns about the economy,” says Sharon Miller, president of small business and head of specialty banking and lending at Bank of America. “While facing a highly challenging environment, entrepreneurs are demonstrating resilience and adaptability as they focus on the operational and strategic decisions that directly impact their customers and employees.”
Economic Concerns and Recovery
The current primary concerns of business owners: inflation (80%), commodities prices (75%), and supply chain disruptions (64%), are dampening their overall outlook. They’re less worried about healthcare costs—at 57%, it dipped to its lowest level of concern in the history of the SBOR.
Despite these concerns, 62% of small business owners say their businesses have fully or partially recovered from the pandemic, and 48% cite increased consumer spending over the past year as a key driver in their recovery. Plus, 70% of business owners plan to seek financing for their businesses in the year ahead, and 26% plan to hire, the highest percentage since the fall of 2018.
Raising Prices and Other Solutions
Most small business owners increased their prices to combat their challenges.
- To fight inflation: 68% raised prices, and 34% reevaluated their cash flow and spending
- To combat supply chain issues: 58% raised prices, and 43% delayed the delivery of goods and services
- To deal with the labor shortage, owners are working more hours themselves
The entrepreneurs surveyed believe new technologies will be critical to their business growth and risk reduction in the future. Business owners believe that cybersecurity platforms (57%), 5G (50%), and automation (39%) will be critical for businesses to succeed in the next decade.
Digitizing their businesses is key: 44% plan to prioritize digital sales over brick-and-mortar. And 70% of small business owners have already adopted new digital tools and strategies for their businesses in the past year, including more business banking online or via mobile apps (52%) and accepting more forms of cashless payments (43%).