We may have moved beyond trapped boats and sanitizing our groceries, but full pandemic recovery is very much still a work in progress. And local small business owners are definitely still feeling the effects.
In banking giant Bank of America’s 2022 Small Business Owner Report, DC founders are taking a closer look at how issues like supply chains or increased technology might help or hinder their small businesses. But, as it turns out, high prices and pandemic surges don’t discourage them.
Instead, they’re keeping their eyes on the prize. Ahmed Gilani, the small business banker manager for Bank of America in the district, told Technical.ly that DC entrepreneurs are keeping a close eye on larger factors that truly impact their day-to-day operations.
According to the report, here are the local economic concerns that preoccupy DC’s small business owners:
- 80% of local small business owners are currently impacted by inflation, and 69% are still impacted by supply chain slowdowns and issues
- For many, this means raising prices, dealing with sales losses and a shrinking customer base, Gilani said.
- Confidence in the DC economy is at 61%, compared to 68% in 2021, which largely reflects economic concerns.
- Still, they’re feeling more confident about the prospects of their own businesses, with 76% expecting an increase in revenue in the rest of the year and into 2023.
- With that in mind, there’s still a growing need for talent. 46% are saying that they’re having trouble with the labor market, which means 57% are working longer hours and 55% are struggling to fill open positions.
- As they think about the future, many are embracing tech as part of their business plan. 78% have implemented digital tools like cashless payments to help with business growth.
The move towards tech, Gilani said, has a lot to do with risk reduction on the part of small business owners. Technology like credit card tapping and cashless payments are deemed safer in regard to the pandemic since users sometimes don’t even need to touch anything. It also means less cybersecurity risk, because tap-and-go cards are less likely to experience data breaches.
“As the trend continues to move in a positive direction, it will certainly embrace every small business owner and everyone who goes through this channel,” Gilani said.
Nationally, small business owners are also feeling a confidence boost. About 64% are predicting a revenue increase in 2022, and 70% of owners plan to acquire more funding for their business in the year ahead.
And there’s still room to grow in DC. Gilani hopes that small business owners can take away a better insight into the local economy and use it to their advantage as they move forward — specifically where tech is concerned.
“If 78% of small business owners have embraced technology, then how about we get more and more small business owners to do that?” Gilani said. “And when we do this, the local economy is then on a steady recovery.”