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News, tips, and advice for small business owners

The 2020 Small Business Worry Index

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Stephanie Davis

Small businesses are a big part of the economy, but we tend to overlook the stressors that keep the people who own and operate these businesses awake at night.

Small business owners worried in a coffee shop.

With small businesses employing nearly 17% of the U.S. workforce (about 21 million people), that’s a dangerous oversight.

To fill this knowledge gap and give small business owners a platform to voice their concerns, we conducted a survey to uncover the issues they are most concerned about. Our survey tuned into the worries of America's smallest business owners — those employing less than 20 people. The result, the SurePayroll 2020 Small Business Worry Index, takes a deep dive into their current mindsets and outlines their biggest worries for 2020.

Small business owners’ top concerns include:

1. The Economy

It’s no surprise that small business owners identify the economy as their top concern because small businesses are usually hit hardest by recessions. When the public reduces spending during an economic downturn, small businesses feel the financial impact first. Although we’re currently experiencing a historically strong economy, unsteady trade regulations and the upcoming election year are causing concern. In fact, more than a third (35%) of our respondents said they were concerned about tariff impacts in particular and how changes will affect their businesses in 2020.

2. Cash Flow

Concerns about the economy feed concerns about cash flow, the second-highest worry among small business owners. Small businesses are especially attuned to the health of their cash flow, and owners notice when even the smallest financial issue crops up. Even more, cash flow worries include concern about covering payroll. From our survey, nearly 1 in 4 owners said they worry about covering payroll at some point in 2020 — which puts over 5 million Americans at risk of missing a paycheck next year.

3. Tax Regulations

Tax code and regulations are complex and typically involve minute changes each year. Without the built-out financial teams of larger organizations, the fickle nature of tax regulations forces small business owners to keep close tabs on the changes themselves. Keeping track of these changes can cause some real headaches once tax season rolls around.

These worries are more than just a burden for small business owners on the job. They also make their way into business owners’ personal lives, affecting things like family relationships, hobbies, and personal health. Additionally, the economy, cash flow, and tax regulations are just the tip of the iceberg — technology, competition and hiring are also worries. And their level of concern only increases as owners look to the future.

Interested in learning more?

For a more complete picture of the worries plaguing America’s small business owners and to learn how the right tools and planning can help alleviate the stress, download the full report.

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This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.