Small Business Trends 2024: What Are Trends In Small Businesses? ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Looking into 2024, the Small Business Trends report is like a big picture of what’s going on with small businesses in America.

It’s made from talking to lots of small business owners who work really hard. They share their stories about running a business, what they hope for the future, and how they’re doing with all the big changes happening around them.

This report puts all these stories together to show what life is like for small businesses and what’s new and changing for them.

This year’s small business trends are as follows:

Category Detail
Motivation for Starting a Business 60.87% wanted to be their own CEO; 47.64% dissatisfied with the corporate world
Business Owners’ Motivation 31.00% motivated by passion; 21.36% started due to opportunity or unemployment
Business Owners’ Happiness 74.86% reported being somewhat or extremely happy; Average happiness rating: 3.95 out of 5
Generational Divisions Generation Gap Boomers: 45.45%; Gen X: 46.46%; Millennials: 7%; Gen Z and post-war business owners: less than 1%
Business Diversification Female business owners: 22.35%; Male business owners: 77.47%
Racial Demographics Caucasian or White: 84.75%; Black or African American, Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish Origin, Asian or Asian-American: around 4% each
Political Affiliation Independent/unaffiliated: 31.87%; Republican: 41%; Democrat: 22%
Business Age 0-5 years old: 51%; 6-10 years old: 22.68%; 11-15 years old: 11%; 16+ years old: less than 8%
Business Type Independent, non-franchise: 58.98%; Franchisees: 41.02%
Top Industries Retail: 15.05%; Food & Restaurants: 13.71%; Business services: 10.10%
Profitability 65% of business owners reported being profitable
Business Expansion 51.80% focused on expanding current location, 26% maintaining the current state of business
Hiring Challenges Staff recruitment and retention: top issue for over 50%; 70.73% found hiring somewhat or extremely challenging
Response to Hiring Challenges 63.17% increased wages; 33% focused on retaining current staff
Pandemic Impact 83.36% believe their business will survive COVID-19
Small Business Employment Small businesses employ 46.8% of the private workforce

In 2024, Who Will be the Owners of Small Businesses?

While everyone has their own reasons for starting a business, there are a few common motives. Entrepreneurs started their ventures mostly because they wanted to be their own CEO (60.87 percent) and were dissatisfied with the corporate world in the US (47.64 percent ).

A considerable number of company owners (31.00 percent) were motivated by the chance to pursue their passion, and a significant proportion (21.36 percent) claimed that they got into business since an opportunity arose or because they were recently unemployed (23.44 percent ).

Boredom or economic stress after retirement looks to be a factor as well, with more than 20 percent of respondents saying they launched their company because they were “not ready to retire.”

Small Business trends

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Despite the difficulties with hiring and COVID-19, the vast proportion of small biz owners (74.86 percent) said they were either somewhat or extremely happy.

Around 15 percent of business owners said they were somewhat or very upset, with the remaining 10 percent of the total saying they were neutral.

The average rating was 3.95 on a rating of 1 to 5, with 1 indicating “extremely unhappy” and 5 indicating “very happy.” When compared to other happiness scales throughout the world, company owners appear to be happier than ordinary Americans.

The top two generational divisions this year were the Generation Gap Boomers (45.45 percent) & Gen X (46.46 percent).

Millennials accounted for slightly over 7 percent of individuals polled, while the eldest and youngest among us โ€“ Gen Z “Zoomers” and post-war business owners โ€” accounted for fewer than 1%. In the next few years, we predict the proportion of Gen X company owners to continue to rise.

It’s worth noting that our respondents’ lack of Millennials clearly contradicts other published statistics that imply Millennial entrepreneurship is on the rise.

Whether it’s because Millennials are hesitant to label their businesses as “small business,” the epidemic had a disproportionate impact on Millennial businesses, or something else, our findings contradict each other.

Business Diversification

In our poll this year, female small business owners experienced a blow, which is consistent with national trends.

This year, females accounted for only 22.35 percent of the questioned business owners, while males made up the vast majority (77.47 percent ). Only about 1% of respondents chose an identity other than female or male.

The majority of survey participants were described as Caucasian or White (84.75 percent ). At around 4% apiece, individuals who identified as “Black or African American,” “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish Origin,” and “Asian or Asian-American” came in second and third, respectively.

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Indigenous Americans accounted for 1.21 percent of the company owners polled. Respondents from the Middle East or North Africa made up 1.04 percent of the total, while Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders comprised less than 1%.

While prior year’s polls showed an increase in the variety of small biz owners, there is no evidence of that pattern this year. We can’t say if this is due to the pandemic’s effects or a difference in this year’s sample techniques.

My mission is to improve the number of individuals who prosper in small companies, particularly entrepreneurs of color, other disadvantaged groups, and women in business.

I genuinely hope that the diversity of these numbers will continue to grow in the coming years.

Affiliation With a Political Party

Independent or unaffiliated voters turned out in droves in this election. 1/3 of voters (31.87%) said they didn’t “conform to or feel recognized by any political party.” Republicanism was identified by around 41% of those polled.

Democratic identification was given by 22% of those polled. Only about 6% of those polled said they supported a different political party.

In 2024, How Will Small Businesses Look?

Running a small business can be incredibly challenging. In fact, research shows that only about 50% of small businesses survive their first five years, and only about one-third of them make it to the 10-year mark.

The survey supports these findings, as over 51% of respondents reported having businesses that were 0-5 years old, while 22.68% reported having businesses that were 6-10 years old.

Around 11% of business owners said their companies were 11-15 years old, while fewer than 8% said their companies were 16 years or older.

Start A Physical Business

Finally, about 7% of businesses surveyed had not yet started but could not be classified as open.


Independent, non-franchise enterprises made up a narrow majority of businesses (58.98 percent).

In particular, 31.76 percent of respondents said they launched their firms by buying an existing turnkey facility. This was just a smidgeon more than entrepreneurs who created their own business from the ground up (27.22 percent ).

Franchisees made up 41.02 percent of those who responded to the study, and they largely preferred opening a new franchise site (31.00 percent) to buying an established franchise location (10.02 percent ).


Retail (shopfront, eCommerce, or some other kind of) was the most popular industry category this year, accounting for 15.05 percent of the total. Food & Restaurants came in second (13.71 percent), followed by business services (10.10 percent ).

Beauty, Health & Fitness services (9.71 percent) & Residential and Business Services (9.33 percent) rounded out the top five industries this year.

The poll revealed that less than 6 percent of the 14 categories had a percentage of business owners profitable.

Given the difficulties of the last several years, it’s no wonder that 35 percent of business owners say their company is not profitable. But thatโ€™s not an issue as well. Over half of the enterprises examined are five years old or younger.

Given the conventional knowledge that it takes 2 – 3 years for a business to become successful, it’s understandable that many of them have yet to do so.

The act must go on, and small business owners are no exception. While few people want to establish another location or start a new service (12.10 percent), even fewer want to sell their company (10.02 percent ).

A large percentage of business owners (51.80%) are focused on expanding their current location, while the remaining 26% are concerned with maintaining the current state of their business.

Increasing personnel (51.04 percent), expanding or upgrading their firm (41.02 percent), and investing in online marketing were the top three goals for business owners in 2022. (39.70 percent ).

Given the current high cost of building, the second statement, expanding or upgrading the firm, is especially shocking. It’s likely that entrepreneurs are rushing to complete expansions in order to seal in reduced business lending interest rates.

At the onset, potential business owners will have an advantage if they focus on these three things: hiring trustworthy employees, investing in online marketing, and providing a competitive customer experience.

Hiring In The Midst of The Great Resignation

Over 50% of respondents named staff recruitment and retention as being 1 of their top 3 issues, and when asked how tough it was, 70.73 percent of those who sought to hire said it was somewhat or extremely challenging compared to previous years.

Changes in operations in reaction to COVID-19 (32.14 percent), shortage of capital/cash flow (31.57 percent), & administrative work (23.25 percent) were the top three issues behind retention & recruitment.

According to popular reporting, a significant minority of entrepreneurs expressed concern about rising costs of commodities and supply chain concerns.

However, when questioned about the causes of the difficulty in filling vacancies, several patterns appeared.

The top two challenges, according to business owners, are a limited number of applications (46.86 percent) & competitiveness from other firms (30.43 percent), accompanied by a lack of required job experience (27.05 percent) or technical competency (23.67 percent) in the applicants that DO apply.

Small Business Reaction

Entrepreneurs have overwhelmingly (63.17 percent) boosted wages in response to issues with retention and recruitment. Thirty-three percent are battling the Great Resignation by putting up a significant effort to keep present personnel.

Expanding enrollment advertising efforts (22.93 percent), enhancing perks (17.80 percent), and awarding recruiting bonuses were the final three techniques in the top five (16.34 percent ).

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Despite the fact that we surveyed the most challenging roles to fill, no particular position type emerged as being more or less problematic, showing that the Great Resignation had an impact across all skill sets and verticals.

What Are the Skills that Candidates Are Lacking?

Communication (54.55 percent), teamwork (46.56 percent), sales and client relationship management (38.36 percent), analytical thinking & problem-solving (36.36 percent), and flexibility were the five most important personnel skills cited by small business owners.

Regrettably, more than 1/3 of respondents said that candidates lacked analytical thinking and communication abilities on a regular basis.

Businesses also expressed concern about candidates’ lack of adaptability, time management skills, sales & customer relationship management abilities & openness to criticism.

Is Small Business Still Affected by the Pandemic?

The impact of the pandemic on Americans’ lives has made respondents wary of adopting strong opinions.

When asked how they felt about small companies in today’s political atmosphere, less than 5 percent of business owners said they felt very confident. Eleven percent expressed extreme skepticism.

The majority were “somewhat” confident (31.62 percent) or unconfident (31.62 percent) (32.30 percent ). The remainder of 20% were indifferent.

When questioned about the pandemic’s long-term implications, however, the majority of responders (46.74 percent) expressed some or high confidence.

A little more than 27% of business owners said they were somewhat unconfident, and 7.56 percent said they were very unconfident. 18% of owners said they were unconcerned.

Given that 54.60 percent of entrepreneurs believe the pandemic’s effects are still being felt, this is a significant indicator of optimism among American small businesses.

The good news continues: 83.36 percent of business owners believe their company will endure the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Future of Small Business In The United States

Small businesses employ 46.8% of the private workforce and have been the driving force behind the COVID recovery. According to our research, fewer than a quarter of small businesses have laid off or furloughed employees. America’s lifeblood is a small enterprise.

While the brunt of the COVID-19 epidemic & the Great Resignation appear to be behind us, running a small business was never simple.

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Conclusion: Small Business Trends 2024

Small businesses in America are facing various challenges but are also finding new opportunities.

The trends show that small businesses are a vital part of the economy and are continuously adapting and growing.

Are you a small biz owner? Did this article help you in any way? Let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comment section below.


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Alisia Emerson
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With over 15 years of expertise in personal branding, self-development, and financial literacy under her belt, Alisa has earned a reputation as an accomplished keynote speaker. She is also an expert on topics ranging from self-development, Business News to investment and gladly shares this knowledge with audiences through keynote speaking engagements as well as writing craft workshops for local writers' groups and book conferences. Out of her deep knowledge of writing craftsmanship, Alisa also offers online fiction courses to guide aspiring authors to reach success through story composition excellence.

Affiliate disclosure: In full transparency โ€“ some of the links on our website are affiliate links, if you use them to make a purchase we will earn a commission at no additional cost for you (none whatsoever!).

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