80 Small Business Statistics To Help You Succeed in 2024

80 Small Business Statistics To Help You Succeed in 2024

Mar 26, 2024Tom Golubovich

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, powering innovation, employment, and prosperity from storefronts across America. However, the path to success is filled with risks; many small businesses fail within their first year. Learning the latest statistics provides a roadmap for strategic decisions to avoid pitfalls. This data reveals crucial benchmarks across digital presence, consumer behavior, financials, operations, and more to guide practical choices for entrepreneurs.

Join us as we explore the current small business landscape. Whether you're launching a passion project or leading an established brand, these numbers spotlight hidden obstacles and opportunities. Let these statistics point the way toward sustainable growth and impact.

For an all-in-one guidebook to mastering t-shirt business success, see our Ultimate T-shirt Business Success Guide. This comprehensive resource has insights, strategies, and actionable tips to help you thrive in this competitive market. 

Table of Contents


Overview and Growth Statistics

There are currently over 33.2 million small businesses in the US.

    This substantial number reflects the prevalence of small businesses across various industries and their significant contribution to the national economy.

    (Small Business Administration)

    Small businesses account for 99.9% of all US businesses.

      This overwhelming majority illustrates the dominance of small businesses in the marketplace, highlighting their role in shaping diverse consumer sectors.

      (Small Business Administration)

      A small business is typically defined as having fewer than 500 employees.

        This broad definition reflects the wide range of business sizes that form the foundation of the small business landscape.

        (Small Business Administration)

        Of the 33.2 million small businesses in the US, 27 million have no employees, and 5.4 million have fewer than 20 employees.

          This distribution emphasizes the prevalence of self-employed individuals and very small operations within the small business sector.

          (Small Business Administration)

          3.7 million small businesses have 1 to 9 employees.

            While modest, these businesses provide valuable jobs and services, supporting the overall health of local economies.

            (Small Business Administration)

            Annually, small businesses create 1.5 million jobs, accounting for 64% of all new jobs in the U.S.

              This statistic demonstrates small businesses' significant role as job creators, fostering economic growth and opportunities for employees.

              (Small Business Administration)

              70% of small businesses are individually owned and operated.

                This emphasizes the strong influence of entrepreneurial drive and personal investment in driving a large portion of the small business sector.

                (Chamber of Commerce)

                15 million Americans work full-time for their own business.

                  This sizable number indicates that self-employment and entrepreneurial ventures offer fulfilling and viable career paths for many individuals.

                  (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

                  Small businesses in the US occupy between 30% and 50% of all commercial space.

                    This significant amount of real estate demonstrates small businesses' physical presence and their contribution to shaping retail environments.

                    (Luisa Zhou)

                    The number of small businesses in the U.S. has doubled since 1982.

                      This growth trend is a testament to the adaptability and resilience of small businesses, underscoring their increasingly important role in the economy.


                      Small businesses are responsible for 2 out of every 3 jobs created in the past 25 years.

                        Small businesses offer more than just products and services; they are a major driving force for employment and economic stability.

                        (SBA Small Business Facts Report)

                        There are approximately 594 million entrepreneurs worldwide.

                          This global figure shows the widespread pursuit of entrepreneurship as a career path, offering inspiration and a sense of a worldwide entrepreneurial community.

                          (Entrepreneur Insights)


                          Digital Presence and Online Marketing Statistics

                          86% of small businesses use Facebook as their leading social media platform for advertising.

                            Harness the power of Facebook advertising to target and connect with vast audiences where your ideal customers already gather.


                            60% of people discover new products on Instagram.

                              Showcase your products visually on Instagram to reach those actively seeking unique finds and inspiration.

                              (Instagram For Business)

                              73% of small businesses invest in social media marketing.

                                Join the majority of small businesses reaping the benefits of social media for brand awareness, customer engagement, and sales.

                                (Small Biz Trends)

                                130 million accounts open shopping posts to learn more about products every month.

                                  Tap into shoppers' purchasing intent by using Instagram's shopping posts to showcase your products directly.


                                  US small businesses' overall social media advertising spending in 2022 was $63 billion, an 11.15% rise from 2021.

                                    The continuous surge in social ad spending proves that small businesses recognize the value of reaching customers where they spend their time.

                                    (Chamber of Commerce)

                                    One-third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.

                                      Make your Instagram Stories compelling to increase your brand's visibility and connect with engaged audiences through authentic content.


                                      71% of small businesses have their own website.

                                        Having your own website provides a permanent virtual storefront, offering customers information and access to your business around the clock.

                                        (Chamber of Commerce)

                                        98% of consumers used the Internet to find information about local businesses in 2022, up from 90% in 2019.

                                          Ensure your business stands out in local searches by maintaining listings, encouraging reviews, and optimizing your website for local queries.


                                          81% of online shoppers conduct searches on a business before making a purchase, with 55% looking for online reviews and 47% searching for the business' websites.

                                            Build trust and encourage purchases by providing a well-designed website and actively managing your online reputation.


                                            20% of small businesses believe a website isn't relevant to their industry, 26% are deterred by the costs, and 40% feel they need more technical knowledge to create and operate a website.

                                              Explore modern website platforms designed for non-technical users, making web presence more accessible and affordable than ever before.


                                              48% of small businesses have an app as of 2022, compared to 32% in 2021.

                                                Consider exploring a mobile app as a way to streamline interactions, boost loyalty, and unlock new market segments.


                                                46% of small business owners are unsure whether their marketing strategies work.

                                                  Implement tracking and analyze results to gain valuable insights into what works and where to improve your marketing efforts.


                                                  47% of business owners handle their marketing entirely on their own.

                                                    Explore outsourcing or partnerships for specialized marketing tasks to save time, access diverse expertise, and unlock your business's full potential.



                                                    Consumer Behavior and Preferences

                                                    In 2020, 46% of consumers said they were more likely to shop at a small business.

                                                      Highlight your unique offerings and connection to your community to capture the growing number of shoppers consciously choosing small businesses.

                                                      (Retail Dive)

                                                      91% of small businesses believe that businesses should give back to their local communities.

                                                        Share your business's mission and how you impact your community to attract customers seeking great products and a sense of purpose.

                                                        (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                        91% of consumers will choose small businesses when convenient, and 74% actively look for ways to support small businesses even if it's inconvenient.

                                                          Prioritize ease of ordering and a seamless customer experience to capture convenience-seekers while promoting your brand's value proposition to the dedicated supporters of small businesses.

                                                          (Small Biz Trends)

                                                          75% of consumers will spend more with businesses with a good customer experience.

                                                            Exceptional customer service isn't just a bonus; it's a powerful way to justify your prices and solidify brand loyalty amongst your customer base.



                                                            Financial Insights and Challenges

                                                            9% of small businesses make over $1 million.

                                                              This demonstrates that although rare, million-dollar success is achievable for small businesses, highlighting the potential rewards of entrepreneurship.

                                                              (Small Biz Genius)

                                                              77% of small businesses feel optimistic about the future of their business.

                                                                This positive outlook points to the adaptability and confidence of small business owners, even in the face of uncertainty and challenges.

                                                                (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                One-third of successful small businesses started with less than $5,000.

                                                                  Don't let limited capital deter you - this stat proves that resourcefulness and a strong business plan can set you up for success on a lean budget.


                                                                  66% of small businesses face financial challenges, with 43% citing the most prominent challenge as paying operating expenses.

                                                                    Prioritize expense management and explore strategies to streamline costs so these recurring financial stresses don't derail your business.

                                                                    (The Zebra)

                                                                    If revenue were lost for two months, 86% of small businesses would need to supplement funding or cut costs.

                                                                      Implement a financial buffer and build redundancy into your business model to safeguard against unexpected revenue disruptions.

                                                                      (Constant Contact)

                                                                      $30,000 is the average cost of starting a small business.

                                                                        Use this average as a starting point for financial planning, mindful that your industry and specific business model will likely affect your startup costs.

                                                                        (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation)

                                                                        Micro-businesses operated from home still require at least $2000 to start.

                                                                          While offering a lower barrier to entry,  don't underestimate startup costs even for home-based businesses, and budget accordingly.


                                                                          Online-only business owners spend an average of $35,000 during their first year of operation.

                                                                            Before launching an online venture, factor in substantial investments in website development, marketing, and inventory.

                                                                            (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                            Large banks are responsible for 89.5% of small loans given to small businesses.

                                                                              While large banks are primary lenders, exploring alternative sources like community banks or microlenders might increase your funding options.


                                                                              SBA loans have a 25% approval rate at large banks and a 49% approval rate at small banks.

                                                                                If seeking an SBA loan, consider approaching smaller banks, as they statistically give your application a greater chance of success.


                                                                                Forty-four percent of small firms with employees have more than $100,000 in debt, and 8% owe more than $1 million.

                                                                                  Understand that taking on debt is commonplace for small businesses, with a focus on making it manageable and strategic for business growth.

                                                                                  (Wall St Journal)

                                                                                  As of 2021, 62% of small businesses have in-house accountants, while 30% use external accountants.

                                                                                    Choose the accounting solution best suited to your business's complexity and budget, recognizing financial management's vital role in success.

                                                                                    (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                    39% of small business owners use cash to start their business, while 20% opt for 401(k) business financing.

                                                                                      Explore all viable funding options, considering both personal savings and less conventional strategies like 401(k) rollovers for business investment.

                                                                                      (Guidant Financial)

                                                                                      Late payments are one of the leading causes of cash flow problems for small businesses.

                                                                                        Master cash flow management techniques to stay solvent and proactively address fluctuating income with proactive financial planning.


                                                                                        The overall average loan amount is $107,000.

                                                                                          Use this benchmark to inform your expectations when assessing funding needs and determining an appropriate loan amount for your business.


                                                                                          The average owner of a small business receives a salary of $69,593 per year.

                                                                                            As this is an average, research your industry and location for a more accurate idea of the earning potential in your specific small business.

                                                                                            (Dataman Group)

                                                                                            At the end of 2020, nine million loans were given to SMEs, totaling $750 billion.

                                                                                              The many loans granted exemplify the widespread reliance on financing for small and medium-sized enterprises.

                                                                                              (ETV News)


                                                                                              Business Structure and Demographics

                                                                                              Nearly half (47.3%) of small employer businesses (1-100 employers) are S-corporations, the most common type of organization for this business size.

                                                                                                If you're scaling your business and adding employees, explore whether switching to an S-corporation structure aligns with your business goals and could offer potential tax advantages.

                                                                                                (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                86.4% of non-employer businesses are sole proprietorships, while just 14.4% of small employer businesses are.

                                                                                                  For solopreneurs, starting as a sole proprietorship offers a streamlined path but consider transitioning to a business structure that limits personal liability as your venture grows.

                                                                                                  (Office of Advocacy, SBA)

                                                                                                  62% of small businesses report being in good health.

                                                                                                    Despite prevalent challenges, maintain positivity. This reflects that business owners value their ventures and remain hopeful for what's ahead.

                                                                                                    (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                    The average annual sales for non-employers was $46,978.

                                                                                                      Don't let a lack of employees limit your vision - even solo operations can generate significant income with the right focus and strategy.

                                                                                                      (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                      64% of businesses begin with $10,000 in capital.

                                                                                                        Starting lean might feel necessary, but don't hesitate to seek additional funding sources if a strategic investment would accelerate your business growth.


                                                                                                        Business owners aged 55 or older are more likely to survive but less likely to have employees.

                                                                                                          Experience is valuable for navigating business obstacles, but don't shy away from taking calculated risks that could lead to greater expansion.

                                                                                                          (Small Biz Genius)

                                                                                                          One in three small businesses are family-owned.

                                                                                                            Leverage the unique strengths and commitment that come with family businesses while establishing clear roles and decision-making processes for success.

                                                                                                            (Office of Advocacy, SBA)

                                                                                                            32% of business owners have completed a bachelor's degree, while 12% only finished high school.

                                                                                                              Focus on continuous learning and skills development as a business owner – formal education is one path, but your drive and resourcefulness are equally powerful tools.

                                                                                                              (Office of Advocacy, SBA)

                                                                                                              29% of small business owners stated their reason for starting a business was the desire to be their own boss.

                                                                                                                Embrace the autonomy that attracted you to entrepreneurship in the first place –  remember your 'why' when tackling difficult decisions.

                                                                                                                (Guidant Financial)

                                                                                                                17% of small business owners say they started their own business due to dissatisfaction with corporate America.

                                                                                                                  If the rigid corporate world no longer aligns with your goals, channel that entrepreneurial spirit toward building a different work environment that values you and your employees.

                                                                                                                  (Guidant Financial)

                                                                                                                  Millennials and Gen Zers are 188% more likely to aim to create a side business than Baby Boomers or traditionalists.

                                                                                                                    Recognize the growing trend of 'side hustles'  – if it fits your business model, consider services or offerings catering to this entrepreneurial customer sub-group.


                                                                                                                    Millennials and Gen Z are 48% more likely to say they started their business because they were passionate about an idea.

                                                                                                                      Tap into the power of purpose-driven business initiatives. Aligning your passion with your offerings builds brand authenticity and attracts like-minded clients.


                                                                                                                      38% of Small business owners believe that discipline is a critical component of an entrepreneurial mindset.

                                                                                                                        Create sustainable systems and develop self-discipline habits to turn short-term motivation into long-term consistency and business success.


                                                                                                                        Women own 13 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 42% of all small businesses.

                                                                                                                          Connect with female-focused networking groups and resources. Find mentorship, create collaborations, and tap into the growing market and support women entrepreneurs offer each other.

                                                                                                                          (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                                          18.7% or 1.1 million of US employer businesses are minority-owned.

                                                                                                                            Foster diverse partnerships and actively seek inclusive representation within your supply chains to align your business values with your consumer base.

                                                                                                                            (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                                            40.6% of American small business owners identify as Republicans, 21.9% as Democrats, 5.4% as Libertarians, and nearly 32% as unaffiliated.

                                                                                                                              Understand the diversity of viewpoints within your customer base and create marketing/outreach strategies sensitive to varying perspectives.

                                                                                                                              (Guidant Financial)


                                                                                                                              Operational Insights

                                                                                                                              Over 15 million Americans work full-time for their own businesses.

                                                                                                                                Recognize what it takes to succeed. Seek support networks and connect with fellow entrepreneurs to combat isolation and tap into shared experiences.


                                                                                                                                19% of small business owners work over 60 hours a week.

                                                                                                                                  Be proactive about preventing burnout; explore tools for delegation and time management strategies designed to streamline your workload.


                                                                                                                                  81% of business owners work nights, and 89% work weekends.

                                                                                                                                    Remember to schedule dedicated time for rest and prioritize balance: even small breaks recharge energy and avoid a decline in productivity.


                                                                                                                                    Most small business owners work between 40 and 49 hours weekly.

                                                                                                                                      Don't underestimate the time commitment. Develop realistic expectations and build systems to maximize productivity during dedicated work hours.

                                                                                                                                      (The Alternative Board)

                                                                                                                                      50% of small businesses are operated from home.

                                                                                                                                        Take advantage of resources for home-based entrepreneurs, addressing unique challenges like zoning restrictions and separating work from personal life.

                                                                                                                                        (Office of Advocacy, SBA)

                                                                                                                                        Approximately 65.3% of small businesses operating in the US in 2022 are thriving and making money.

                                                                                                                                          This encouraging metric suggests a positive climate for small businesses despite challenges; seek mentors or success stories as motivation.

                                                                                                                                          (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                                                          More than 20% of small enterprises fail in the first year, and nearly 50% of small startups fail within the first five years.

                                                                                                                                            Learn from prevalent causes of failure by researching common missteps and seeking business planning guidance from seasoned advisors.

                                                                                                                                            (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

                                                                                                                                            38% of small businesses fail because they either run out of cash or require more financial support.

                                                                                                                                              Explore diverse funding options beyond traditional loans: grants, crowdfunding, and venture capital, particularly targeting the small business niche.

                                                                                                                                              (CB Insights)

                                                                                                                                              The second most common reason for new business failure is a lack of market need for their product, accounting for 35% of failures.

                                                                                                                                                Tap into free resources like the SBA's market research tools and validate your offering before launch – even small-scale surveys help.

                                                                                                                                                (CB Insights)

                                                                                                                                                Four of the most common reasons small businesses fail include poor marketing initiatives, inadequate management, financing hurdles, and unproductive business planning.

                                                                                                                                                  The SBA and online business schools offer free programs and courses to strengthen these crucial areas and improve your odds of success.

                                                                                                                                                  (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                                                                  52% of small business owners state that labor quality is their most significant problem, noting difficulties in finding qualified individuals to hire.

                                                                                                                                                    Expand your hiring outreach: partner with job boards focused on specialized skills, local trade schools, or temp agencies offering trial periods. 

                                                                                                                                                    (NFIB Jobs Report)

                                                                                                                                                    For businesses with over 50 employees, 63% of owners find it harder to find qualified hires.

                                                                                                                                                      As you scale, invest in a dedicated HR professional or outsource recruiting assistance: finding talent becomes a full-time task itself.


                                                                                                                                                      50% of all businesses start at home, and 60% of all businesses without staff are home-based.

                                                                                                                                                        Celebrate the flexibility. But stay vigilant about compliance for home-based operations: taxes, permits, and insurance vary by location.



                                                                                                                                                        Technology and Innovation Statistics

                                                                                                                                                        84% of small enterprises use at least one digital platform to share their products.

                                                                                                                                                          Start small if you're not yet leveraging digital platforms for product visibility. Pick one platform, learn the basics, and build engagement before expanding.

                                                                                                                                                          (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                                                                          79% of small businesses use digital tools to communicate with suppliers and customers.

                                                                                                                                                            Make informed tech choices: research all-in-one solutions designed for client communication, streamlining inbox overload, and maximizing customer satisfaction.

                                                                                                                                                            (Chamber of Commerce)

                                                                                                                                                            55% of small business owners report that technology is crucial in managing customer interactions.

                                                                                                                                                              Don't overlook CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools. Even free versions organize client data,  improving communications, sales, and service.

                                                                                                                                                              (Finance Online)

                                                                                                                                                              65% of small businesses are more likely to invest in technologies like artificial intelligence for automation.

                                                                                                                                                                Start simple. Explore basic AI chatbots and automated answering services to manage out-of-hours inquiries or provide FAQs without massive investment.


                                                                                                                                                                Remote work is here to stay and is expected to increase by 13.5% even after the pandemic.

                                                                                                                                                                  Embrace this reality. Develop company policies for remote work, invest in secure work-from-home tech, and build camaraderie via company events (virtual or in-person).



                                                                                                                                                                  Charting Your Path to T-Shirt Business Success

                                                                                                                                                                  The world of small businesses is fueled by passion and driven by adaptability. The statistics we've uncovered highlight the opportunities, challenges, and essential trends shaping the t-shirt market. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting your journey, these insights empower you with the knowledge to make informed decisions and build a thriving business.

                                                                                                                                                                  To bring your unique designs to life, Ninja Transfers offers the cutting-edge DTF (direct-to-film) technology you need. Our vibrant, high-quality prints make your custom t-shirts and apparel stand out and ensure customer satisfaction.

                                                                                                                                                                  Let Ninja Transfers be your partner in achieving t-shirt business success. Together, we'll harness the entrepreneurial spirit, navigate a competitive market, and turn your design dreams into a thriving reality.



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