National Write Your Congressman Finds Small Business Owners Increasingly Uncertain About their Business’ Future
COVID-19’s Impact’s on Business, Hiring Qualified Workers, Regulations are Owners’ Top Concerns
DALLAS – January 29, 2021 – National Write Your Congressman (NWYC), an organization that gives small businesses a voice in American government, released its Q4 2020 Quarterly Index finding 35 percent of business owners uncertain about the future of their business, an increase of 52 percent from last quarter. In Q3 2020, 23 percent of business owners were uncertain about the future. Business owners cite taxes (30 percent), COVID-19’s effect on their business (22 percent), business regulations (20 percent) and hiring qualified workers (14 percent) as their top concerns for the first quarter.
“Small business continues to be the driving force of America’s economy as unprecedented changes in national policy, local and state mandates due to the pandemic, and the current political climate have made running and planning for a business challenging,” said Randy Ford, President and COO of National Write Your Congressman. “Our findings demonstrate the need for small business owners to continue reaching out to their local and state officials and members of Congress to make their voice heard.”
Forty-seven percent of small business owners said they believe their U.S. Congressional Members know their opinions on important issues (a decrease of 25% from last quarter) but only 29 percent believe their own elected U.S. Congressional Members act according to their constituents' input (a decrease of 30% from last quarter). Thirty-one percent of small business owners surveyed said they trust the elected U.S. Congressional Members who represent them.
Although business owners’ trust in their own U.S. Member of Congress decreased, business sentiment is hopeful, as 55 percent of business owners have kept their business open with only a few modifications.
“We are working harder than ever before. Divided yes, hope maybe, wanting to stay in business? Absolutely,” said Sandy Pirdy, NWYC member and Owner, Creekside Fabrics, Quilts & Yarns in Arcade, New York.
Nineteen percent of small business owners plan to grow their business in 2021 and only three percent foresee their business closing this year. Thirty-seven percent have had to change the way they do business by either restructuring or implementing new technologies, and five percent of business owners have had to shut down their operations entirely.
“It truly has been a tough year. One of the good outcomes to this pandemic is the creativity we have in our industry to use technology. It pushed me to do more - like Facebook lives, CommentSold - a home shopping type sale via Facebook, Zoom, and private shopping experiences. That has kept us connected to our customers,” said Pirdy.
Paycheck Protection Program Loans
Almost a quarter of business owners plan to apply for the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Out of those that plan to apply for additional funds the top business needs for these funds include payroll and salaries, employee healthcare benefits and rent payments.
“The year 2020 was one of unprecedented struggles and triumphs for our small business. There were many days and nights where I would stare at our financial positioning in sheer dismay. Our employees are like family and making extremely hard decisions to do partial layoffs was heart wrenching,” said Erica Goodnight, NWYC member and President and CEO of Union Grove Lumber, Inc. in Union Grove, North Carolina.
“Our business applied for, and was granted, a much needed PPP Loan. I hired back 100 percent of staff; our team was back together and hungrier than ever to make things work. Our company has not let 2020 dictate us. Day-to-day is hard, especially with unknowns, but we are staying focused on the course and look forward to the mountains and valleys of 2021,” said Goodnight.
Sentiment Towards Elected Officials
NWYC provides members with non-partisan information and research along with the tools they can use to connect with their representatives in Washington and advocate for the policies and actions that will help their small businesses be successful for their families, their employees and their communities.
National Write Your Congressman is dedicated to the delivery of constituent information to members of Congress. It releases a Quarterly Index Score, which takes into account six factors measuring small business owners’ trust, hope and satisfaction towards Congress and government. Past NWYC Indexes can be found here.
NWYC collected data using an online survey administered January 18 to January 22, 2021. A total of 1,591 respondents participated. Respondents represent 48 of the 50 states in the U.S. Sixty percent of business owners surveyed employ 1-9 employees and 37 percent employ 10-99 employees. The predominant industries represented are construction, services, automotive repair, health, legal, accounting, engineering, advertising, education, manufacturing, agriculture, and retail trade.
About National Write Your Congressman
National Write Your Congressman (NWYC) is an organization that gives small businesses a voice in American government. As the nation’s largest, privately held, nonpartisan membership organization made up of small businesses, NWYC is dedicated to the delivery of constituent opinions to representatives in Washington. For more than 60 years, NWYC has provided small business owners and operators the tools necessary to connect with members of Congress and a platform to let their collective voice be heard. NWYC’s team of experts provides unbiased, nonpartisan information and research on top issues and pending legislation relevant to small business owners today. NWYC presents both sides of the issue so that members can form an educated opinion and let their opinions be heard.