Report Shows Optimism for Future Business Growth, But Challenges Remain

In a recent statewide survey of 617 small to medium-sized businesses, respondents to the latest Michigan Future Business Index (MFBI) survey indicated business is on the rebound with optimism for the future, but it will be next year before most are fully recovered. Small business leaders are bullish on sales for the next six months, with nearly six in ten expecting sales growth. While talent acquisition remains the top challenge to doing business in Michigan, inflation has become a significant concern among Michigan’s small business owners. In addition, COVID-19 stressors, wage inflation, and hiring incentives have diminished profit margins for nearly half of the respondents, while two in ten expect profit shortfalls to continue over the next six months.

The semi-annual MFBI was commissioned by the Michigan Business Network and Cinnaire and is conducted by the Michigan-based market research firm, ROI Insight. Cinnaire’s Ryan Robinson joined Chris Holman, Michigan Business Network CEO, and statewide leaders today to share the survey results with business leaders from across Michigan.

“The survey provides an opportunity for business leaders to share their insights and provide perspective on Michigan’s economic outlook,” said Ryan Robinson, Cinnaire Executive Vice President, Operations and Corporate Risk Management. “The information collected is critical to supporting the future success of business in Michigan, providing data for policymakers, community leaders and advocates to better understand current challenges businesses are facing. Successful small businesses are an important component of healthy communities and Cinnaire is pleased to join the Michigan Business Network to share the results of the report.”

The survey found that acquiring talent remains the top challenge to doing business, but respondents say it is now more significant given the stressors created by the pandemic and workers choosing not to return to the workforce. Additionally, while it seems remote work is here to stay for white-collar sectors, fewer than one in five businesses will require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to work.

Chris Holman, Founder/CEO of Michigan Business Network who started the survey in 2003 and took it statewide in 2006 shared this about the latest findings, “Though the challenges for small business still exist one consistency still appears. That is small businesses on-going positive attitude about the future. It’s that attitude that drives economic recovery and I am so happy to see it on the rise in this MFBI.”

Additional findings include:

  • Satisfaction with the economy is rebounding, but still fragile.
  • Sales projections are bullish, but profits remain soft as business owners navigate the labor shortage, wage inflation and remaining COVID-19 stressors.
  • Similar to pre-pandemic surveys, acquiring talent remains the most significant challenge to doing business, but the steps taken by government to mitigate COVID-19’s impact on the economy have added even more pressure on the labor market.
  • In addition to wage inflation, we are keeping our eyes on the effects of price inflation, as two-thirds of small business owners consider it a significant concern right now.
  • Overall, perceptions of the Michigan small business market remain optimistic:
    • Seven in ten (70%) still believe Michigan is a pretty good (52%) or excellent (17%) market for their business; but that it down 9 points from June 2019.
    • More than 6 in 10 (62%) believe state taxes here are mostly (48%) to very (14%) fair, but that is down 15 points since June 2019.

For more details, data, and graphs covering the results of the latest MFBI, please click here.

About the Michigan Business Network

As a leading voice for small businesses in Michigan, the Michigan Business Network (MBN) believe the people making decisions need to hear how your business is doing. MBN is an information provider seeking to help grow and develop Michigan’s economic community.

https://www.michiganbusinessnetwork.com