PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Small Businesses Blame Biden Policies for Key Pain Points, according to “Checkup Survey”

By at 4 May, 2023, 9:07 am

Financial and operational vital signs are unsteady for many small businesses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C. – It’s National Small Business Week, and despite a self-generated glowing report card on its policies supporting entrepreneurs, President Biden and his policies receive substandard or failing grades from the business owners themselves, according to a new Small Business Checkup Survey conducted by Technometrica for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council). In fact,70% blame the Biden Administration for current inflationary woes and a potential recession. Not surprisingly, 73% report that inflation is having a negative impact on their firms.

The survey of small business owners whose political party affiliations are represented equally in the sample (33% Democrat, 31% Republican and 33% Independent) are highly concerned about the future of the economy – 85% express concern about a recession or economic slowdown in the coming months. The survey was conducted April 18-21, 2023.

“Financial and operational vital signs are unsteady for many small firms. Flooding the system with more government spending, risky loan programs, and policy proposals that raise costs and create new burdens is not the right policy mix when it comes to building confidence and success for small business owners. Almost every key finding of our checkup survey finds that Biden Administration policies are intensifying the pain points of small business owners,” said SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

Key findings of the Small Business Checkup Survey include:

● 54% say it is harder to find/obtain capital than it was 6 months ago.

● 44% report that a “credit crunch” is having a negative impact on their business.

● 55% of business owners agree that the labor shortage/access to skilled workers is hampering their firm’s operating capacity.

● 55% report that business revenues have not kept pace with inflation.

● 57% are cutting back on business spending.

Regarding how small business owners grade the Biden Administration on specific issues – and while some respondents are still waiting to see how these policies pan out – the results are not generally positive for the President and his team in some key areas.

President Biden’s Grade by Category:   

● Overall Performance: 51% poor/unacceptable

● Handling of the economy: 56% poor/unacceptable

● Taxes: 49% poor/unacceptable

● Regulation: 45% poor/unacceptable

● Government spending: 53% poor/unacceptable

● Immigration policy: 50% poor/unacceptable

Top Issues of Concern for Small Business Owners (out of a choice of 15, respondents selected their Top 3): Inflation (57%), Recession/Slowdown (29%), Economic Uncertainty (29%), Gas Prices (26%), High Taxes (22%), Rising Interest Rates (21%), Supply Chain Issues (20%).

External/Economic Issues Impact on Their Small Business:

● Inflation: 73% somewhat/very negative

● Rising Interest Rates: 60% somewhat/very negative

● Energy Costs: 58% somewhat/very negative

● Supply Chain Disruptions: 48% somewhat/very negative

● Credit Crunch: 44% somewhat/very negative

● Labor Shortage/Access to skilled workers: 40% somewhat/very negative

According to Kerrigan, it is worth noting that the more negative small business owners feel about the economy, with economic negativity becoming more widespread among consumers and workers according to various national polls, the fewer risks they will take and the fewer new businesses will be created.

“President Biden touts the record level of new business applications during his tenure, which actually accelerated during the early months of the pandemic, but these applications are just that – intentions to start a business. Uncertain economic conditions, limited access to capital and labor, and relentless inflation will hold back many of these potential entrepreneurs. This is very sad for our economy and the dreams of these individuals. The ‘entrepreneurial boom’ is an opportunity that could be lost due to poor economic policies,” added Kerrigan.

There is some good news to report in the survey. Business owners view their own and local economic conditions as generally good (some excellent), and most feel they can weather the uncertain months ahead: 68% are optimistic about their survival over the next two years. However, 25% report their odds of survival as only “fair” and 4% say their chances are “poor.” Kerrigan put those numbers in perspective:

“When you crunch the numbers, the potential fallout should scare elected officials. Twenty-five percent of the 32 million small businesses in the U.S. is a lot of small businesses at risk. That’s 8 million local businesses. And the 4% who rate their chances as poor, means that just over 1.2 million businesses may fail. That’s not good news. The policy ship needs to do a total 180 before it’s too late for countless small businesses and our economy,” warned Kerrigan.

Contact:  Karen Kerrigan, kkerrigan@sbecouncil.org

SBE Council is a nonpartisan advocacy, research and education organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For 28 years, SBE Council has worked on and advanced a range of private sector and public policy initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for strong startup activity and small business growth. Visit www.sbecouncil.org  for additional information. Twitter: @SBECouncil

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