(BPT) - More than three million small businesses were started in the first half of 2023, up nearly 6% from the first six months of 2022. While new business formation is thriving, business owners continue to face a number of challenges: Inflation (30%), hiring (17%), taxes (16%) and supply chain disruptions (16%) were all cited as top challenges for small business leaders in the Chase for Business' Midyear Business Leaders Outlook survey.
"Business growth is strong and despite ongoing economic challenges, there's plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurship across the country,' said Ben Walter, CEO of Chase for Business. 'It's important for business leaders to have a space to network and recognize their collective successes. It's also equally important for them to find opportunities for continued education and moments of inspiration.'
To help entrepreneurs take on these challenges, Chase for Business held its inaugural Make Your Move Summit in Frisco, Texas from Nov. 1-3, bringing together more than 1,100 small business owners to provide them the tips and tools they need to move their business forward. The complimentary event gave attendees the opportunity to hear from notable speakers - like businessman and investor Mark Cuban, former WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes and Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith - enjoy educational breakout sessions and network with other local entrepreneurs.
Here are the three key takeaways from the Make Your Move Summit:
1. Happy Employees Lead to Happy Customers
Small business owners are still grappling with the tightest labor market in decades. They know engaged and committed employees are core to business survival - especially in today's environment - with three in five (61%) business owners ranking keeping valued employees as the most important way to manage costs in an inflationary environment.
Bob Jordan, President & CEO of Southwest Airlines, shared the secret behind the airline's oft-celebrated company culture, saying, 'We start everything with our people. Happy people lead to happy customers.'
As that connection between healthy employees and happy customers has come into focus, business owners are responding with a renewed emphasis on establishing a positive company culture. They are focusing on mental health and stress management, with nearly 13% more business leaders reportedly offering mental health days since November 2022. More than half say they've tried to implement healthy habits to manage stress in their own lives.
2. Values are Hugely Important to New Age Consumers
While price is a major component of whether a purchase is made, consumers are increasingly paying more attention to the values of the businesses they choose to support. Business leaders recognize the importance of being purpose-driven, as 45% identified keeping their why top of mind as an important quality to cope with an inflationary environment.
Emma Grede, Serial Entrepreneur, CEO & Chairwoman of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, echoed that sentiment during her two sessions at the Make Your Move Summit. Appearing on behalf of Chase Ink, Grede talked to business owners about how she built her businesses by prioritizing accessibility and inclusivity, while also providing business owners with real-time feedback about understanding and articulating their why.
3. New Revenue Streams are Key to Combatting Inflation
Most business owners (70%) think rising costs are here to stay and recognize that combating inflation isn't as simple as raising prices and cutting costs. In fact, they are finding new revenue streams and rethinking their brick-and-mortar strategy. More than one-third (36%) are reporting operations or sales outside of the United States, up from 28% last year. Similarly, the overall percentage of respondents who plan to add or increase physical locations due to growth rose 10% (45% in 2023 from 35% in 2022) while the percentage of respondents who plan to reduce their locations also increased from 15% in 2022 to 23% in the latest survey.
Several of the business leaders at the Make Your Move Summit highlighted the importance of transparency and authenticity, which was echoed by business leaders who cited honest and transparent communication with customers (58%) as the single most important quality needed to cope with the inflationary environment.
Chase for Business expects to host its second Make Your Move Summit in 2024. Visit chase.com/business for more information about the tools and resources available for business leaders, and to stay updated on the latest announcements surrounding next year's Summit.
The statements, views and opinions that will be expressed during the event are those of the presenters and are not necessarily endorsed by, or reflect the views or positions of, JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA or any of its affiliates. The presentation is for informational purposes and is not a recommendation or solicitation of any particular actions. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA and its affiliates are not liable for decisions made or actions taken in reliance on any of the information covered during the event.
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