Strategies for Small Business Survival: Insights from SBE Council President, Karen Kerrigan

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In this Episode:

Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, discusses various challenges facing small businesses, including variable costs, access to capital, and regulatory changes.

Podcast Highlights:

  • Inflation Concerns: High inflation rates are a key concern, with 89% of business owners worried about inflationary pressures. Even with month-to-month decreases, the cumulative effect remains a challenge, particularly when an uptick was noticed in August.
  • Revenue Struggles: Over half (52%) of business owners have observed that their revenues are not keeping pace with inflation, indicating that as costs rise, consumer spending power dwindles, affecting small business income.
  • Strategies for Coping with Inflation: Businesses are cutting costs, bulk purchasing through collaboration, offering discounts for upfront payments, and increasingly turning to technology solutions.
  • Technological Advancements: Small businesses have integrated tech into their operations, especially post-pandemic. There is a pivot towards tech-first solutions, with artificial intelligence (AI) playing a significant role in cost reduction and operational efficiency.
  • AI and Job Redistribution: Rather than eliminating jobs, AI is an opportunity to reallocate employees to growth-driving activities such as marketing and consumer-facing roles. It allows employees to focus on high-value tasks rather than routine work.
  • Quantifying AI Benefits: Upcoming surveys will measure the exact time and cost savings AI is providing to small businesses, similar to previous assessments on the impact of mobile apps. This data will be crucial in understanding and expanding the use of AI in small business environments.

Policy and Small Business Involvement: There is an ongoing conversation on Capitol Hill regarding AI regulation. Small business owners urge for a balance between regulation and innovation and emphasize the necessity for small businesses to be included in policymaking discussions, as they are both users and developers of AI technologies.