Even if small business owners are optimistic about the future, they see challenges ahead.
Weighing heavily are access to capital, rising operating costs and the difficulty in trying to hire workers.
On Wednesday, several business owners in Valley Stream met with Deputy Majority Leader Michaelle Solages to discuss the challenges.
The business owners – Chung H. Lee of Alpha Care Supply, Sophia Parchment of Brownin Transportation, and Shakeel Rahman of Pencol Contracting – are members of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community. This is a program that offers participants the opportunity to organize and advocate for policies that are important to them. The program stems from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which provides education, capital, and support services to more than 10,000 entrepreneurs across the United States and its territories..
On Wednesday, the Valley Stream business owners met with Solages at Alpha Care Supply to share their experienc navigating the current economy.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, but even as shops reopen here in Long Island, it’s clear that challenges remain for our small business owners,” Solages said in a statement.
“I’m committed to supporting hardworking small business owners like the ones I met today in Valley Stream, particularly when it comes to access to capital, procurement challenges, labor shortages, and rising costs,” Solages added.
A recent national survey from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices highlighted the kinds of challenges small business are encountering as they seek economic recovery months after the pandemic shutdown and lifted restrictions. Conducted from June 1 to June 2, the survey collected responses from 857 participants, from 46 states and two U.S. territories. Of the respondents, 53 percent were women. The survey was conducted by Babson College and David Binder Research.
The survey found that of the 71 percent of small businesses currently hiring, 81 percent are finding it difficult to recruit qualified candidates. At the same time, 83 percent of small business owners report an increase in operating costs in the past few months and 82 percent are concerned about the impact of inflation on their businesses. As a result, almost half of small businesses, 48 percent, have had to increase their prices.
Locally, Long Island small business owners continue to face significant challenges.
“Long Island businesses like mine are welcoming customers again, and these signs of recovery are heartening, but many obstacles remain on the road ahead,” Lee, the managing director of Alpha Supply Care, said in a statement.
“Operation costs are higher than they were prior to the pandemic, the recruitment of workers – including competing for them with big businesses who had a different pandemic experience – remains a significant barrier, and small businesses are in need of more capital,” Lee added.
In addition, 82 percent of small business owners responding to the survey said that they expect to exhaust their federal Paycheck Protection Program loan funding by the end of July, and only 24 percent saying they are very confident they will maintain payroll when their funding is exhausted.
Lee said that the 10,000 Small Businesses Voices program was helping to provide strategic guidance in a “tumultuous time and organizing a space for our businesses to advocate for small business priorities with Deputy Majority Leader Solages.”
The program aims to assist “Long Island small business owners advocate for policy changes that will help their businesses, including access to capital, childcare, health care, and procurement reform,” Jane Moffat, deputy national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices, said in a statement.
There are “Road to Recovery” programs taking place across the country, in a series of bipartisan events that are connecting elected officials with small business owners. Participating elected officials – whether they are local, state or federal – will have the opportunity to listen and learn from small business owners directly about the challenges they are facing coming out of the pandemic.
“America’s economic recovery is dependent on the strength of small businesses across the country,” Moffatt said, noting that meetings such as the one held Wednesday with Solages foster the opportunity for an “important discussion and to hear the urgent needs of Long Island’s small business community.”