Surveys Show Small Business Burnout Rising, Optimism Falling

Throughout the more than two years that the pandemic has gripped the United States, America’s small businesses have shown time and time again how resilient they are. In fact, several surveys have shown continued optimism on the part of business owners. Unfortunately, with fresh economic threats mounting, more recent reports display increased frustrations.

According to a survey from Podium (conducted by Censuswide), 72% of small business owners stated that they felt burned out by the effects the pandemic has had on their business. Some of the top issues cited contributing to this feeling included inventory shortages, challenges communicating with customers, and a lack of separation between work and home. Outside of these issues, 48% of respondents said that inflation was the current most significant threat to their business, while 39% noted rising gas prices as their largest issue.

Podium’s survey results arrive on the heels of the National Federation of Independent Business’s latest report showing their Small Business Optimism Index taking another dip. In June, the index fell 3.6 points to hit 89.5. This is the sixth month in a row that the index has held below the average score of 98 and is the lowest score recorded during the pandemic era. What’s more, the percentage of small business owners who are still expecting improved business conditions over the next six months fell to its lowest level in the survey’s 48-year history.

Commenting on the latest Optimism Index results, NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg stated, “As inflation continues to dominate business decisions, small business owners’ expectations for better business conditions have reached a new low. On top of the immediate challenges facing small business owners including inflation and worker shortages, the outlook for economic policy is not encouraging either as policy talks have shifted to tax increases and more regulations.”

Similarly, Podium’s founder and CEO Eric Rea noted, “Running a local small business has always been hard, but in the last few years, it’s been especially tough. With challenges like inflation and staffing shortages, many small business owners are now doing the jobs of several people.”

Given all of the challenges that have been thrown at small business owners in recent months and beyond, it’s certainly understandable that many would now be expressing issues with burnout as well as decreased optimism. However, it’s worth remembering that America’s entrepreneurs have faced such obstacles before and have made it through. So, while the next few months do seem likely to bring more complications and frustrations, as they say, this too shall pass.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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