Surging Optimism Buoys SMBs

Surging Optimism Buoys SMBs

Despite the upheaval businesses experienced in 2020, optimism has now surged past pre-pandemic levels, and many leaders from small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) report being well-positioned for growth in the year ahead, says Umpqua Bank’s annual report. Key findings from the survey include:

Positive Outlook

  • Positivity has roughly doubled since 2020, with expectations for economic improvement and business growth accelerating.
  • 55% of mid-size businesses and 52% of small businesses expect economic conditions to improve.

More Change Ahead

  • 96% of mid-size businesses say they made “significant changes” to multiple areas, including supply chains, staffing, company culture, and services.
  • 65% of small businesses say they made “significant changes” to multiple areas.
  • 71% of mid-size businesses and half of all respondents expect to keep most or all the changes made.
  • 52% of mid-size businesses are considering an acquisition, up from one-third in 2019 and 2020.
  • 47% of mid-size businesses, especially those in manufacturing, finance, and insurance, look to expand their commercial real estate footprint.
  • 75% of mid-size businesses expect to continue making significant changes to their products and services.
  • 81% of mid-size businesses will digitize new areas of their business, and 79% will continue automating manual tasks.

Some Headwinds Remain

  • 55% of mid-size businesses and 41% of small businesses are having trouble finding qualified employees, especially in construction, retail, and manufacturing.
  • The most significant impacts are high labor costs, increased delays in getting goods, and costly workforce inefficiencies.
  • 88% of businesses cite difficulty sourcing goods in the past 12 months as they work to adapt to increasing consumer demand.
  • 76% say an increase in the price of goods is their most common supply chain difficulty, and 59% say longer delays are their most common difficulty.

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