The Small Business Administration (SBA) has celebrated National Small Business Week (NSBW) for more than 50 years. The weeklong event runs from April 30 – May 6 and highlights small business success stories and provides networking opportunities, educational workshops and access to federal resources. The event is co-hosted by SCORE.
“Together, American small businesses greatly impact our nation’s economy,” says SCORE CEO Bridget Weston. “The past few years have challenged business owners like never before. Thanks to the generous support of our National Small Business Week sponsors, we are celebrating the resilient spirit of American entrepreneurialism and providing timely education and resources to help ensure our small businesses’ continued vitality and success.”
Small businesses are vital for job creation and innovation, especially in rural areas. Whether it’s a small glass shop in Minnesota with four employees or a commercial New York glazing company with 20 employees, their ability to impact localities is unrivaled. In fact, SBA reported that in 2019, small businesses accounted for 44% of U.S. economic activity. The organization also reported that small businesses with fewer than 500 employees make up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses and 99.7% of firms with paid employees.
2023 Small Business Owner Report
While small businesses are more susceptible to economic upheaval, they are still capable of prospering in the face of higher input costs and labor shortages. Bank of America (BOA) reports in its 2023 Small Business Owner Report that most small business owners stated that their revenues increased in 2022 over 2021. Additionally, nearly 65% of owners expect revenues to increase in 2022.
Concerns about the economy do exist, however. BOA reports that 79% of small business owners are concerned about inflation. Eighty-eight percent of business owners state that inflation has impacted their business, which has caused them to raise prices, reevaluate cash flow and spending, reduce costs and increase employee wages. A possible recession, increased commodity prices, the U.S. political environment and interest rates round out the top five concerns.
“Inflation and supply chain disruptions continue impacting business owners. Many have raised prices to counter the effects,” says Sharon Miller, BOA’s president, small business, head of specialty banking and lending. “Nearly three-in-four small business owners also see a potential economic recession as a top concern this year … Small business owners stay competitive in a tight labor market by investing in their staff. Over the past 12 months, more than half of small business owners implemented additional benefits to retain talent, as 75% of these business owners reported that their efforts meaningfully impacted employee morale and retention.”
Sustainability is also at the forefront of small business owners’ minds, reports BOA. Three-quarters of business owners have already implemented sustainable business practices. In the glass industry, steps companies have taken include recycling glass, purchasing green electricity and reducing emissions throughout the entire value chain.
In tandem with the adoption of sustainable practices, the majority of small business owners have digitally optimized their businesses over the past year. This includes using a cloud-based platform, such as resource planning applications for commercial and residential glaziers, and automation, including automated machinery for curtainwall and window wall manufacturers.