Survey: Inflation, Supply Chain Top Small-Business Concerns

    BASKING RIDGE, N.J. (Globe Newswire) — Verizon Business on Thursday released findings from its third annual State of Small Business Survey, conducted by Morning Consult.

    With responses from more than 600 small and midsize businesses, the data shows that challenges such as inflation, labor and the U.S. economy are top concerns. Despite this, businesses remain upbeat regarding their future, with 56% of small and midsize businesses believing they will be better a year from now than they are today.

    Other areas of concern include cybersecurity and businesses’ outlook for the 2022 holiday season. Download the full survey results.

    “While there has been a tightening of the belt by businesses of all sizes, they have also seen the benefit of continued innovation and technology investment to drive sales, employee engagement, and improved customer experience,” said Aparna Khurjekar, Chief Revenue Officer, Business Markets and SaaS, at Verizon Business. “We are committed to providing our small business customers with a suite of integrated tools that will give them the technological edge they need to succeed.”

    Key findings:

    • Inflation and supply chain issues remain top concerns. Nearly half (44%) of small and midsize business decision makers are concerned about supply chain issues affecting holiday season sales and approximately one in three (35%) are worried about economic hardships and inflation impacting their sales.
    • Workforce and economy woes. More than 82% of respondents express inflation worry, and, compared to the two previous years, respondents this time are more likely to be concerned about their own financial security (72% in Aug. 22, vs. 66% in 2021 and 67% in 2020). However, 80% of businesses surveyed haven’t laid off employees, and 87% haven’t reduced their employees’ wages.
    • Technology investments the last to be cut. Compared to cutting spending on operational investments (39%) and employee events (59%), only 29% have already cut or plan to cut technology investments in the next six months.
    • Connectivity technology upgrades driven by revenue. Nearly half (48%) of technology additions made by small and midsize businesses initially were to drive customer acquisition, and 53% of businesses who have added to their tech stack invested to better connect with existing customers.
    • Cybersecurity concerns linger. Consistent with 2021, a majority of small and midsize business decision makers consider the following a risk to their business this year: viruses (55%), malware and ransomware (54%), sensitive data vulnerabilities (51%), password theft (51%), and spam and phishing (50%).
    • Innovation to match consumer tastes. 48% of businesses surveyed began offering new products and services to adapt to changing consumer needs in the past year.
    • Discrepancies in small business owners’ 2022 expectations. While 68% of small and midsize business decision makers expected their business to be doing better in 2022 vs. 2021, only 46% say that business has improved.
    • Hospitality industry hit hard. Small businesses in food & beverage, restaurants & bars, and retail are more worried than other industries about bouncing back to pre-COVID levels with a more cost-conscious public. Ensuring inventory levels and fulfillment schedules amid continued supply chain disruptions was a concern for businesses in food & beverage (72%), restaurants & bars (69%) and retail (62%). Cash flow disruptions were also a concern: food & beverage (65%), restaurants & bars (59%) and retail (66%).