Survey: SMB Owners Are Concerned Most about Healthcare, Retirement and Providing for their Families

Small business owners are generally happy despite having several significant concerns, found a new survey by Yodle, provider of online marketing services for businesses. The first annual Small Business Sentiment Survey polled 306 small business owners nationwide across a large array of service industries to gain their perspective on work-life balance, professional and personal worries, and government and institutional support.

“We have served small businesses for eight years and always want to stay as informed as possible so that we can best understand their state of mind and challenges,” said Louis Gagnon, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Yodle. 

Yodle’s Small Business Sentiment Survey found:
1) Small business owners reported significant personal and professional worries. The top three personal concerns for SMB owners are affording healthcare (48%), saving for retirement (46%) and providing an adequate lifestyle for their family (33%). The top three professional worries are finding new customers (42%), affording healthcare and other employee benefits (39%) and keeping current customers (33%).  Sixty-one percent also stated that they think that the Affordable Healthcare Act will have a negative impact on small businesses.

2) Despite their concerns, survey respondents are happy to be small business owners and generally want to maintain that status. Ninety-one of respondents are happy that they became SMB owners, with 55 percent stating they are “extremely happy.” Fifty-nine percent of SMB owners also shared that they would likely not consider selling their business over the next few years, indicating optimism and satisfaction.

3) More than half of small business owners seem to have a decent work-life balance. Fifty-two percent of SMB owners work 40 hours or less and almost 72 percent take at least two weeks of vacation per year. Twenty-seven percent of SMB owners actually take four or more weeks of vacation per year. However, 39 percent work 41-60 hours per week and 9 percent work over 60 hours a week. Additionally, just 11 percent of small business owners don’t take any vacation. 

4) Most small business owners are dissatisfied with the support they receive from the federal government and other institutions.  Seventy-three percent of SMB owners believe that the federal government is more of a hindrance than a help. Although some SMB owners identified several institutions as helpful, e.g., trade associations (34%) and banks (26%), 39 percent don’t think any organizations – including those specifically established to support them – are useful.

5) Many small business owners are still not adopting modern technology and marketing approaches. Although 51 percent of SMB owners use technology to help with accounting operations, this dwarfs technology utilization for appointment booking and scheduling (39%), customer relationship management (34%), point-of-sale systems (25%), and acquisition marketing (14%). Additionally, 52 percent of SMB owners do not have a website or even measure the results of their marketing programs (56%).