Despite rising costs and staffing concerns, SMB owners are very bullish on 2022, according to our annual Small Business Owner Sentiment Survey. The survey of more than 1,000 small business owners across the U.S found that nearly 90% of small business owners believe revenue in 2022 will be as good or better than 2021. More than 50% (54.7%) believe 2022 will be much better than 2021 as covid concerns recede. This positive outlook comes on the heels of 50% of survey respondents reporting increased revenue in 2021.
Increased Cost Are Here to Stay
91% of respondents stated they faced increased costs in 2021 and they expect costs to continue to rise in 2022 due to inflation and increased staffing expenses. When asked what the biggest business concerns are for their business in 2022, respondents considered inflation to be the biggest concern in a majority of the country.
Regional Views Differ
Regional dynamics greatly impacted views on forthcoming opportunities and challenges. For example, 89% of Northeast business owners reported minimal operating cost increases throughout 2021, with their biggest concern for 2022 surrounding supply chain logistics. Whereas 71% of southern business owners reported moderate to significant increases in operating expenses within 2021 and the majority are concerned about staffing in 2022. “It can be deduced that southern business owners have faced more rapid increase in expenses due to rising employee compensation and higher minimum wage requirements compared to the northeast for which higher employee compensation has been largely in place for years,” stated Eric Goodstadt, Chief Executive Officer of UpSwell Marketing.
Automotive repair, constructions, HVAC, fitness, real estate and dental are the most optimistic on 2022. Retail, beauty services, and non-profit support services are expecting continued challenges in the forthcoming year.
Additionally, the survey asked about the future investments in 2022, with more than 25% of SMB Owners planning to increase their digital marketing expenditures significantly in 2022.