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Small Business Data

Small Business Insights: 2022 survey

Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Insights is a longitudinal study of the state of small business in the US, Canada, and the UK. Updated every three months right here on the QuickBooks blog, it covers small business finances, funding, hiring, innovation, growth, and more. 

The sample comprises more than 2,800 small businesses (defined as having up to 100 employees) with 1,500 respondents in the US, 600 in Canada, and 750 in the UK. Get the highlights below or use the chapter links for a deeper dive into each topic.

Cash flow and payments

  • 3 in 5 small businesses have unpaid invoices
  • US small businesses with unpaid invoices are owed around $30,000, on average
  • Almost half of small businesses have cash flow problems
  • More than 1 in 4 small businesses report worse cash flow problems than last year
  • At least 1 in 4 small businesses with cash flow problems are using credit cards

Funding and financial health

  • 1 in 3 small businesses need extra funding
  • A third of small businesses that get funding use it for growth, but almost as many need it for emergencies
  • Roughly half of small businesses are funded with the business owner’s personal savings
  • Half of small business owners who self-fund their business use income from other jobs
  • Small business start-up costs are roughly $11,000 on average in the US
  • Three-quarters of small businesses are currently financially stable or growing
  • One in five small businesses report worse finances than a year ago
  • Three in five small businesses are worried about how much revenue they’re generating

Marketing and growth

  • For 8 out of 10 small businesses, stability or steady growth is the goal
  • As few as 1 in 2 small businesses know which marketing strategies are most cost-effective
  • Social media and email marketing are two of the top marketing strategies for small businesses
  • 1 in 2 small businesses say their digital ad campaigns can’t compete with larger businesses
  • Small businesses rely on online sales as much as they do on in-person sales
  • Small businesses that sell online say their own website is the most important source of revenue
  • Prices are rising at more than 1 in 2 small businesses
  • 13% is the average price increase reported by small businesses
  • Exit strategies: Up to 1 in 4 small business owners will pass their business to a family member

Workforce management

  • More than 1 in 4 small businesses want to expand their workforces, few plan reductions
  • Hiring is a challenge for 1 in 2 small businesses
  • More than a third of small businesses currently have job vacancies
  • More than 1 in 2 small businesses are preparing to increase pay for workers
  • Where small businesses are planning pay increases, they expect to give raises of 7% to 12% on average
  • Up to 1 in 2 small businesses are struggling to persuade skilled workers to stay
  • 1 in 2 small businesses see remote work as an effective employee retention tool
  • Around 1 in 5 small businesses are planning to expand employee benefits
  • Paid time off is the employee benefit small businesses are most likely to increase

Innovation and investment

  • When small businesses develop innovations of their own, new products or services are the priority
  • 1 in 4 small businesses own intellectual property
  • When small businesses buy new innovations, digital technology is the top priority
  • When investing in new digital technology, website upgrades are a high priority
  • Around 1 in 2 small businesses have immediate investment plans
  • Product or service innovations are the top priorities for small business investment

Business management

  • 3 in 5 small business owners admit they sometimes feel out of their depth
  • Less than 3 in 5 small business owners and leaders have had any management training
  • Almost half of small businesses use spreadsheets to manage their finances
  • 1 in 5 small businesses don’t know how much monthly revenue they need to be profitable
  • 1 in 10 small businesses don’t know where their business is most profitable
  • 1 in 5 small businesses don’t know how to measure cash flow
  • 1 in 10 small businesses don’t know what their largest monthly expense item is

Business challenges

  • Inflation is the top external challenge small businesses currently face
  • Costs are higher than expected for around half of small businesses
  • Higher costs mean smaller businesses are more likely to increase their own prices
  • Lack of funding is the greatest barrier to growth, according to small businesses
  • Low customer demand is a top challenge for small businesses today
  • Cybersecurity is a major technology challenge for small businesses
  • Inefficient processes create significant internal challenges for small businesses

Pandemic impact

  • 1 in 5 small businesses are paying closer attention to their finances than they did before the pandemic
  • Half of small businesses have made permanent changes to their workforce since the pandemic began
  • COVID-related labor cost pressures are a concern for up to 1 in 2 small businesses
  • 9 out of 10 small businesses with higher labor costs are being forced to cut back in other areas

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