Small Business Pain Meter

Does it hurt? The bailouts, major layoffs, stocks down, houses down … so how is small business doing? I’ve posted some bad news here already. I’ve got more.

Almost one of every three business owners said they’d laid people off already. Almost one in two said they’ve also reduced hours. The average sales forecast for the group, looking at next year, was 49% less than this year.

I built a survey for the Huffington Post, asking people how they were doing. Here’s a sample, from the comments that came in:

I cannot overstate how profoundly sad I am to have had to lay off staff members and reduce the hours of those who remain. I have been working like mad trying to figure out a way to survive in these enormously trying times. I’ve always provided our staff with health insurance benefits and year’s end bonuses. Right now I am unable to even pay our monthly bills.

That’s just one (an eloquent example) of the almost 600 responses to my small business survey earlier this week, in partnership with the editors of the Huffington Post. It started with meanwhile, back in the real world for the original post announcing the survey, and Survey Shows Bleak Outlook on Small Business for the results, including three maps, on of them interactive, and downloads of the full survey results.

Not everybody was in trouble. Although the overall impact is bad, and sad, there are bright spots. A business trading in live lobsters expects to double sales next year, it says because the lobsters are way less expensive than normal. An insurance broker expects to double business because people who were “too lazy to do financial planning” want to do it now.


  • The Franchise King says:

    Let me chime in, if I may. My franchise consulting business {I help others find appropriate opportunities in franchise ownership for FREE}is down about 60% this year.

    I am grateful that I have the ability to adapt, and have moved my office to the house. Not my 1st choice, but one that I was forced to do.

    Let's hope for a strong 2009!

    Happy New Year!

    Joel Libava

  • Fred Abramson says:

    On a similar note, 12/23/08's Wall Street Journal has an article about other businesses that are doing well. They list areas such as health care and bankruptcy law. I am a small business and litigation attorney located in nyc. In my practice,litigation has been growing.

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