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Survey: More than 60% of Small Businesses Expect to Hire in 2024

Jersey City-based Bluevine has released its inaugural Business Owner Success Survey (“BOSS”) Report™, benchmarking the data behind the actual decisions that US-based small business owners are making and informing their future decisions. The data supports an overarching takeaway: while 2023 had small business owners (SMBOs) focused on efficiencies and profitability, 2024 is shaping up to be the year of growth for the SMB segment.

In the face of economic uncertainty in 2023, SMBOs leaned into efficiencies while revenue growth remained modest. As a result, the overwhelming majority (93%) of small businesses (SMBs) surveyed posted some level of profitability in 2023. For 2024, nearly one-quarter (22%) of SMBs surveyed are projecting revenue gains of 50% or more, nearly doubling the number of companies (12%) that grew revenue at or above 50% in 2023.

As a key indicator of growth, SMBs are poised to see an uptick in overall headcount growth in 2024, with 67% of US small businesses surveyed planning on making new hires. In 2023, comparatively, 75% finished the year with the same or fewer employees than they had at the start of the year.

“Accounting for nearly half of the GDP and hiring in the U.S., small businesses play a significant role in our economy and are a driving force of innovation, opportunity, and inspiration,” said Eyal Lifshitz, Bluevine co-founder and CEO. “For small business owners nationwide, 2023 was a year of budget tightening and improving efficiencies – more so than larger companies with longer-term financial flexibility. Now, as inflation cools, with stronger than anticipated consumer spending and an anticipated soft landing for the economy, small businesses are right to be optimistic about growth this year.”

As a further indicator of a focus on growth, more SMBs will seek access to capital this year (45% of those surveyed), representing an 18% increase over 2023. Of those seeking access to capital in the year ahead, 55% are looking for a new credit card and 55% are also seeking a new lender. Business owners consider financial management as a major factor contributing to their company’s success and a key way to invest in growth efforts.

While access to capital is a strong indicator of growth, SMBs are still focused on efficiencies. Many small businesses admit they lose more than a full work week worth of time per year at their local branch handling banking activities. Thirty-four percent surveyed spend at least 5 hours per month on banking activities at their branch, including travel time – equivalent to 60 hours or 7.5 working days per year.

When evaluating their business banking relationship and ranking the main attributes for selecting a banking partner, nearly half of those SMBOs surveyed named “No Monthly Fees,” remarkably higher than the second most important attribute, “unlimited transactions” at 28%.

Political candidates have some ground to make up with small businesses

While small businesses are optimistic about growth, they would still like improved policies from elected officials. Over one-third of business owners surveyed admitted they felt both state and federal programs and policies could offer more support to small business owners.

More specifically, over one-third of respondents don’t believe their state government provides helpful policies or programs that support the success of their small business. Strikingly similar sentiment as it relates to federal policy, 38% noted that they don’t believe the Federal government provides helpful policies or programs that support their small business success.

Local/regional markets are the focus for SMBs

Analyzing the target markets for US small businesses, local and regional customers continue to dominate. More than half (54%) of SMBOs surveyed sell locally/regionally, compared to only about one-third (31%) who sell nationwide and 14% that sell globally.

Assessing online versus brick-and-mortar sales more than one-third (39%) of respondents reported selling their products and services through a combination of online stores and in-person, brick-and-mortar locations. Slightly more (28%) sell at brick-and-mortar locations exclusively, compared to 26% that only sell through online channels.

“Being the ‘boss’ and owner of a small business has many rewards, but it can also be challenging as you address the multitude of economic, operational, and regional market issues impacting your business” added Lifshitz. “As many small business owners can attest, it’s the execution of your business plan that determines whether a small business thrives or fails. With SMBs focused on revenue growth and expanding their business this year, factors such as cash flow management, capital investments, and hiring all contribute to a company’s ability to succeed. It’s about being efficient with the business while maintaining that entrepreneurial spirit.”


Bluevine surveyed over 1,100 small business owners nationwide between Dec. 11, 2023, and Jan. 25, 2024. The businesses reported annual revenue between $100,000 and $5 million. For access to the complete BOSS Report, visit here.

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