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Sam’s Club launches microbusiness tracker


Bentonville, Ark. -- One-in-three microbusiness owners (31%) depend more on a second job for their personal income than they do on their business, yet 69% say owning their business is the ideal job. In collaboration with Gallup, Sam’s Club has unveiled a new quarterly tracking poll focused on America’s smallest businesses, or microbusinesses, with five or fewer workers.

The new Sam’s Club/Gallup Microbusiness Tracker results reflect 868 phone interviews made in March 2014 with companies of five or fewer employees. The first tracker reveals several notable findings:

• Nearly half (45.7%) of newer microbusinesses are started or owned by women, while only 28.3% of microbusinesses 20 years or older are women-owned.

• Women (25%) are less likely than men (34%) to use bank loans to finance their business.

• Compared to their male counterparts, women are more likely to worry about working too hard and overdoing it (43.5% vs. 35.7%) and to agree that they struggle to balance work and life (36.3% vs. 32%).

• More than 60% of microbusiness owners have financed their business from personal savings, and nearly as many (55%) say having access to cash reserves is a major issue facing their business.

• More than two-thirds of microbusiness owners are choosing not to re-invest their tax refunds into their business, preferring to use the tax refund toward loan repayment or personal use.

• Almost a third (30%) of older microbusinesses, those more than three years old, are experiencing flat revenue growth and are more likely to be letting employees go compared to newer microbusinesses.

• While the day-to-day management of their business dominates much of their time, microbusiness owners want to spend more time serving customers (34%) than taking personal time off (25%) or planning for the company’s future (21%).

• Rising taxes and fees on goods and services (68%) is the number one concern for microbusiness owners. The cost of utilities (39%), inventory or raw materials (35%) and transportation (34%) are other issues weighing heavily on the minds of microbusinesses.

• Approximately one-third (34%) of microbusinesses with employees say that providing adequate employee benefits is a major issue for them; meanwhile, four in 10 microbusiness owners (41%) said they are concerned about employee healthcare costs going up significantly in the coming year.

“Sam’s Club has served microbusiness members for more than 30 years,” said Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of Sam’s Club. “We’re always conducting research with members to understand their needs and concerns, but with the Microbusiness Tracker, we want to give a broader, national voice to microbusiness. We believe these vital community businesses and the challenges of these entrepreneurs aren’t always represented in the small business discourse.”

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