Business Barometer

Challenges Facing Small Business Owners Nationwide

Most feel the upcoming presidential election and inflation will significantly impact their business

A new report from ShareBuilder 401k revels 33% believe Trump winning the election will positively impact their business vs. 16% for Biden.

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ShareBuilder 401k, a leading provider of retirement plans and an advocate for small businesses, has released the results of its latest survey conducted by Wakefield Research among 500 small businesses. The results shed light on the challenges and concerns small business owners (SBOs) face nationwide regarding their business, the economy, and the impact of the election.

The impact of the presidential election on small businesses is significant, according to the survey. Small businesses believe this outcome (49%) has a real impact on improving their business, more than the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates (19%) or local government policies (11%). 33% of SBOs believe Trump winning the election will have the greatest positive impact, while only 16% believe Biden will help improve their business prospects. However, there is a notable gender difference with male small business owners skewing 40% Trump and 14% Biden, while female small business owners favor Trump by 25% and Biden by 17%.

The consequences of the presidential election are impacting the timing of SBOs’ business decisions. Owners indicate they are delaying many business decisions until after the 2024 elections, including:

  • Capital investments (23%)
  • Hiring new employees (20%)
  • Launching new products or services (19%)
  • Offering benefits to employees (12%)

Small Businesses On Shaky Ground

The survey also found that SBO’s current top concerns are growing their business are inflation at 61%, maintaining clients at 37%, competition from larger businesses at 33%, and the cost of labor at 26%. To manage the impacts of inflation in the past year, 50% have increased prices, 23% found lower-cost vendors, and 22% needed to increase employee wages. When SBOs were asked how concerned they were about the future of their business due to market volatility, 68% were at least somewhat concerned, of which 30% were extremely or very concerned.

“These findings show many small businesses feel they are on shaky ground, whether from our current political climate, inflation, or market volatility,” said Stuart Robertson, President and CEO of ShareBuilder 401k. “Given that nearly half of Americans work for a small business, the feeling of unease could have broad implications for the economic growth for the country. That said, Presidential and Congressional fiscal policies can take years to impact the greater economy, so election outcomes may not be as dire as many may feel.”

ShareBuilder 401k remains committed to empowering small businesses with accessible and cost-effective retirement solutions, helping them navigate uncertainties and achieve financial security for owners and employees. Small businesses interested in learning more about ShareBuilder 401k can visit




The ShareBuilder 401k Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 500 US small business owners at companies of 1 – 50 employees, between April 19th and 24th, 2024, using an email invitation and an online survey. The sample was selected to be representative of the small business landscape in the US, with businesses from various industries and geographical locations, with a split of 53% male and 47% female business owners.
About ShareBuilder 401k
ShareBuilder 401k is a leading digital 401(k) provider specializing in low-cost, all-ETF retirement products and resources for small- to mid-sized companies, including owner-only businesses. Founded in 2005, and now serving more than 6,500 businesses across the US, ShareBuilder 401k is a pioneer of the index-based 401(k), digital quoting and purchasing of retirement plans, and providing investment management (ERISA 3(38)) services for every client’s fund roster. ShareBuilder 401k is committed to expanding access to retirement plans and leading more Americans to save through cutting-edge technology, low costs and quality education and support.


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