MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS’ PERSPECTIVES

CAPITAL INVESTMENT TOPS WISH LIST OF AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESSES

Owner in coffee shop with open sign

If you received a grant of $50,000–$5 million to invest in your business, how would you spend it?

Capital investment and upgrades are a top priority for small businesses looking toward the future. Small business owners and operators identified areas where an increase in capital could drive improvements – whether a manufacturer needs a larger facility or a restaurant owner needs fresh décor. At the same time, many express a desire to hire more staff or compensate their current staff at a higher level, indicating that they may anticipate the potential growth of their businesses.

Capital expansion is #1. Our equipment is quite expensive because we are in manufacturing. And, we need to expand our buildings. We are running out of space for machines and employees.

SMALL BUSINESS CFO

Manufacturing Industry
Colorado

I would probably look to add legal business development and marketing resources for my business, and invest in additional office space for those hires.

SMALL BUSINESS PRESIDENT

Accommodations & Food Industry
Connecticut

Equipment and plants are the cornerstone of manufacturing, in terms of having an edge. And the people, taking care of people is most important.

SMALL BUSINESS PRESIDENT

Technical Services Industry
New York

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS WORKING MORE HOURS THAN IN YEARS PRIOR

Are you working more hours, fewer hours, or about the same amount of hours running your business as you were this time last year?

As owners and operators are feeling good about the state of their firms, many of them are working even more than they have in the past to improve their businesses’ success. Three-in-ten small business owners (30%) say they are working more hours than they did a year ago. Small businesses with 5 to 19 employees at their company report the largest increase in hours, with 32% of owners and operators saying that they are working more hours than they were at this time last year.

30% say they are working more hours than a year ago

As an entrepreneur, I have the ability to say yes or say no to doing work … I am a one-armed paperhanger. You do it all … You don’t have a backup if something happens, like emergency family situations.

SMALL BUSINESS OWNER

Consulting Industry
New Jersey

[Owning a business is … ] time-consuming. We have to put in a lot of hours to ensure the success of our business. It’s stressful. When things are not going well, that falls on our shoulders.

SMALL BUSINESS PRESIDENT

Construction Industry
Florida

[There] just isn’t enough time to do everything.

SMALL BUSINESS PRESIDENT

Retail Industry
North Carolina

Owners viewing documents

A QUARTER OF SMALL BUSINESSES STRUGGLING TO FIND QUALIFIED RECRUITS

How would you rate the quality of potential recruits that are applying for positions at your company?

Many small business owners say they are struggling to find qualified candidates for their open positions. One in four (25%) described the quality of recruits applying for their positions as poor, while only two in five (39%) say the quality of recruits is good or very good. Owners in professional services industries expressed the most favorable views, with 55% rating candidates as good or very good (only 17% rated them as poor). Conversely, only 27% of manufacturers and 26% of retailers say they’re getting good or very good recruits, with 31% and 30% rating recruits as poor, respectively.

25% say that the quality of recruits is poor

The quality of recruits is on the poor side. They aren’t people I would be really interested in having work for me … it’s like they [recruits] are looking for something that fits their lifestyle instead of looking to be a good employee for someone else.

SMALL BUSINESS PRESIDENT

Accommodations & Food Industry
Connecticut

We get to pick and choose who are the best candidates. They are well qualified. But the best candidates are hungry and they are motivated.

SMALL BUSINESS PRESIDENT

Technical Services Industry
New York