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Cybersecurity, Supply Chain Become Rising Concerns for SMBs

Warehouse Female Inventory Manager Using Laptop Computer, Preparing a Small Parcel for Postage. Black Multiethnic Small Business Owner Working in Storeroom, Preparing Order for Client.
Photo credit: Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com

MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce have unveiled their latest Small Business Index to gauge overall small business health and confidence. Following a Q4 2023 score of 61.3, this quarter’s score is 62.3, reflecting a stable, relatively more positive, climate.

The biggest reason for the slight bump in score? Perception of the economy at the national and local level. While 32% of small businesses say they believe the U.S. economy is in good health, slightly more (38%) say their local economy is in good health. These responses were up seven and eight percentage points over last quarter, respectively.

“Small businesses’ perceptions of the economy are drifting upward, with businesses reporting being comfortable with their cash flow and the health of their business,” said Tom Sullivan, VP of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “While many business owners have continued to struggle with high prices and rising wages, recent jobs reports are positive. While headwinds remain, confidence is ticking upward and small businesses are more resilient and prepared for unforeseen challenges.”

Most small business respondents reported high satisfaction with the state of their cash flow (67%) and overall business health (65%).

But still, many small businesses (52%) indicate that inflation is a top challenge. This is the seventh consecutive quarter that more than half of small business respondents felt this way. Additionally, the number of small businesses concerned about revenue increased seven percentage points over the last quarter.

“It is encouraging to see the majority of small business owners are satisfied with their business’s health and their current cash flow, despite ongoing concerns around inflation,” says Cynthia Smith, SVP, Head of Regional Business at MetLife. “These trends convey a sense of optimism for the future and, once again, underscore the adaptability and determination shown by small business owners in challenging economic environments.”

Cybersecurity and Supply Chain Come to the Forefront

This quarter’s survey also dove into the top-of-mind threats for small businesses specifically.

Most-cited threats included:

  • Cybersecurity – 60%
  • Supply chain breakdowns – 58%
  • Another pandemic occurring in the future – 54%
  • Inclement weather – 45%
  • Theft – 42%
  • Natural disasters – 39%
  • Act of terrorism – 37%

Although most (71%) small businesses said they are relatively prepared for future threats, very few say they are very prepared. To close this gap and address looming threats, small businesses are creating and adding to rainy-day funds (62%), installing surveillance technology and other precautions (56%), training staff on cybersecurity best practices (48%), developing formal plans for future threats (43%), taking out insurance in case of natural disasters (38%), and building out their existing supply chain infrastructure (35%).

Cybersecurity, Supply Chain Become Rising Concerns for SMBs

by | Apr 2, 2024

Warehouse Female Inventory Manager Using Laptop Computer, Preparing a Small Parcel for Postage. Black Multiethnic Small Business Owner Working in Storeroom, Preparing Order for Client.

MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce have unveiled their latest Small Business Index to gauge overall small business health and confidence. Following a Q4 2023 score of 61.3, this quarter’s score is 62.3, reflecting a stable, relatively more positive, climate.

The biggest reason for the slight bump in score? Perception of the economy at the national and local level. While 32% of small businesses say they believe the U.S. economy is in good health, slightly more (38%) say their local economy is in good health. These responses were up seven and eight percentage points over last quarter, respectively.

“Small businesses’ perceptions of the economy are drifting upward, with businesses reporting being comfortable with their cash flow and the health of their business,” said Tom Sullivan, VP of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “While many business owners have continued to struggle with high prices and rising wages, recent jobs reports are positive. While headwinds remain, confidence is ticking upward and small businesses are more resilient and prepared for unforeseen challenges.”

Most small business respondents reported high satisfaction with the state of their cash flow (67%) and overall business health (65%).

But still, many small businesses (52%) indicate that inflation is a top challenge. This is the seventh consecutive quarter that more than half of small business respondents felt this way. Additionally, the number of small businesses concerned about revenue increased seven percentage points over the last quarter.

“It is encouraging to see the majority of small business owners are satisfied with their business’s health and their current cash flow, despite ongoing concerns around inflation,” says Cynthia Smith, SVP, Head of Regional Business at MetLife. “These trends convey a sense of optimism for the future and, once again, underscore the adaptability and determination shown by small business owners in challenging economic environments.”

Cybersecurity and Supply Chain Come to the Forefront

This quarter’s survey also dove into the top-of-mind threats for small businesses specifically.

Most-cited threats included:

  • Cybersecurity – 60%
  • Supply chain breakdowns – 58%
  • Another pandemic occurring in the future – 54%
  • Inclement weather – 45%
  • Theft – 42%
  • Natural disasters – 39%
  • Act of terrorism – 37%

Although most (71%) small businesses said they are relatively prepared for future threats, very few say they are very prepared. To close this gap and address looming threats, small businesses are creating and adding to rainy-day funds (62%), installing surveillance technology and other precautions (56%), training staff on cybersecurity best practices (48%), developing formal plans for future threats (43%), taking out insurance in case of natural disasters (38%), and building out their existing supply chain infrastructure (35%).