Goldman Sachs survey reveals challenges for small businesses

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(DES MOINES, Iowa) – From the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program:

Ahead of a big gathering of small business owners, Goldman Sachs released new survey data which quantifies the challenges facing the small business community more than two years into the pandemic. New ‘Summit Survey’ finds overwhelming majority of small business owners still have deep concerns about the economy’s trajectory – 93% fear the US will experience a recession over the next next year and 89% report broader economic trends including inflation, supply chain and labor issues continue to wreak havoc.

Goldman Sachs’ latest 10,000 Small Businesses Voices survey will inform conversations at next week’s 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington, DC, where more than 2,500 small business owners — including 57 from Louisiana — will meet with more than 400 government officials to advocate for solutions to the challenges they face, including access to capital, labor and competitiveness, childcare and public procurement. They’re asking Congress to do something it hasn’t done in over twenty years: reauthorize the Small Business Administration to meet the needs of today’s small businesses.

“Entrepreneurs around the world face a bumpy economic road, even as they have overcome the hurdles of recent years,” said David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. “So it’s important that we bring together private and public sector leaders who can work together to support the source of economic vitality in America: our small businesses.”

“Over the past two and a half years, small business owners have faced a once-in-a-century pandemic, once-in-a-generation inflation, unprecedented supply chain disruptions and historical challenges in finding qualified employees,” said Sydney Rieckhoff, CEO and co-owner of Almost Famous Popcorn, which has storefronts in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. “Washington got us through the worst, but it’s clear there’s still a lot to do. That’s why we look forward to discussing potential bipartisan solutions with our members of Congress next week at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit. America’s small businesses are the economic engines of most of our cities and communities. We’ve been through a lot over the past few years, but with the support of our elected leaders in Washington, we know we can come out of this stronger than ever.”

Difficulty hiring and retaining workers remains the biggest problem facing small businesses, according to the survey, with 84% saying hiring difficulties have gotten worse or stayed the same over the past few years. of the last three months. Of those who have had difficulty hiring, a staggering 97% say it has impacted their bottom line. Among small business owners who are hiring, 55% say it takes an average of more than two months to fill a vacancy with a qualified employee. And when asked the main reasons for difficulty in hiring, 78% cited competition with large employers for compensation and benefits.

Record inflation and persistent supply chain challenges also continue to have an outsized impact on small businesses. Ninety-seven percent of small business owners today say inflationary pressures on their business have increased or remained the same compared to three months ago. Sixty-five percent had to raise the prices of their goods or services to offset the negative impact of broader economic trends and 38% saw a drop in customer demand due to inflationary price increases. To make matters worse, 80% say rising gas prices are having a negative impact on their business and 78% say supply chain issues have gotten worse or stayed the same compared to a while ago. three months.

Despite these broader trends, however, nearly two-thirds (65%) of small business owners remain optimistic about the financial trajectory of their own business in 2022. Despite the unprecedented challenges of recent years, small business owners – especially those who have participated in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses – staying resilient, overcoming obstacles and finding innovative ways to grow their businesses, create jobs and strengthen their communities.

Moreover, as thousands of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses alumni travel to Washington, D.C. next week for the 2022 summit, the survey reveals near-universal support for lawmakers to take further action on the challenges they face:

  • 89% of small business owners support policy makers taking action to help address small business workforce and competitiveness challenges;
  • 89% support policymakers who help small businesses deal with inflation challenges;
  • 88% support decision makers who help small businesses address supply chain challenges; and
  • 88% say it’s important that Congress prioritize reauthorizing the Small Business Administration, something that hasn’t happened in over twenty years.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and the engine of our economy,” added Joe Wall, national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices. “They are not looking for alms; they just want a helping hand. The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit will be a historic opportunity for America’s small businesses to raise their concerns at the highest levels of our government. We look forward to hosting this historic event and doing what we can to continue supporting the small businesses that drive our economy forward.

This data is based on a survey of 1,533 participants in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses conducted by Babson College and David Binder Research from June 20-23, 2022. The survey included small business owners from 48 U.S. states and two US territories.

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