Here’s some good news for 2020: 72% of people looking to start a business within the next 12 months feel optimistic about their prospects. It’s not what you might expect during a time like this – in the midst of COVID-19 – but for many aspiring entrepreneurs, “a time like this” is just what they needed to bring their business idea to life.
In fact, 28% of people who plan to start a business within the next 12 months say the coronavirus only accelerated their plans. Another 42% say they’re finally making their side gig more official, according to the QuickBooks® survey.
More than half of these new business owners plan to hire at least one employee within their first 12 months. Another 50% intend to hire at least one contractor.
But, starting a business looks a bit different than it did before the coronavirus. Nearly one in four new business owners say they plan to operate with a completely remote workforce. Remote work was rising in popularity long before the coronavirus, but in the wake of COVID-19, businesses across the country are considering a permanent shift to remote work.
Workers aren’t the only ones going digital. COVID-19 has changed how many consumers interact with small businesses, and experts predict that this surge in e-commerce is here to stay. In fact, 28% of small business owners say they are selling more products and services online, and 94% say the coronavirus directly influenced that change.
Additionally, many businesses had to rethink their products and service offerings to adapt to an e-commerce world. Of those who developed new products and services this year, 86% say they had done so as a result of the coronavirus. These changes certainly haven’t been easy, but they have highlighted the innovative spirit and resilience of small business owners worldwide.
Sample and methodology
Qualtrics distributed two online questionnaires to 1,600 people for QuickBooks in August 2020.
- Current small business owners: 965 people who currently own a small business completed a 25-question survey. These businesses employ up to 100 people and have annual revenues of at least $5,000. All respondents were ages 18 to 65 and older, with an average age of 46.
- Future small business owners: 635 future small business owners – defined as people who do not currently own a business, but intend to start one within the next 12 months – completed a 22-question survey. All respondents were ages 18 to 65 and older, with an average age of 37.
The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics of U.S. Businesses published in March 2020 shows that, in 2017, there were 5,907,070 U.S. businesses with zero to 100 employees. Based on this, taking the total sample of 1,600, the data has a 99% confidence level at a 3% confidence interval. Margins vary for subgroups.