America at work
This Is The One Thing Small Business Owners Can’t Get Enough Of Right Now
J.D. Harrison | May 24, 2017

On balance, America’s small business owners are feeling pretty darn good these days.

Nearly two thirds say their companies are in good health, and about the same percentage expect their sales to grow in the months ahead, according to the Q2 MetLife & U.S Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index release today. In addition, for every one entrepreneur planning to rescue the size of his or her staff, five are planning to add more employees next year.

However, the survey also revealed several challenges facing entrepreneurs across the country, including what seems to be the one thing small business owners simply don’t have enough of these days: time.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most illuminating findings from this first Index, which will be published quarterly moving forward and seeks to capture the 360-degree view from Main Street.

Where did the day go?

Nearly a third of small business owners (30 percent) are working more hours now than they were at the same time last year, while only 6 percent say they’re spending less time at work, according to the Index. Micro-business owners (fewer than 20 employees) were markedly more likely to be working more hours than those who owned a larger firm (20 – 500 employees).

As one small business owner in North Carolina put it (respondents were not asked their name): “There just isn’t enough to do everything.”

Good help is hard to come by

The the Q2 index also added to a mountain of research showing that America’s employers are still struggling to find qualified job candidates for their openings. One in four small business owners surveyed rated the quality of recruits for their open positions as poor, while another 35 percent rated the quality as merely fair.

Naturally, a lack of quality recruits means lost productivity and more time demands for small business owners, who must spend more time recruiting and, inevitably, more time training new hires who don’t already have the skills needed to perform at a high level.

“The quality of recruits is on the poor side,” a respondent in Colorado said during the survey. “They aren’t people I would be really interested in having work for me.”

Sign here, here, here, here, here…

Small business owners commonly cite government rules and other bureaucratic hoops as a challenge, and for many, those hurdles are eating up more and more of their time. One in four say they are spending more time on government-related compliance and requirements than they were six months ago, while only about one in 100 say those hurdles are taking up less of their time.

In particular, small manufacturing business owners were the most likely to report they are spending even more time these days on those government issues.

To see more results, click here.