New survey sheds light on how small business owners are staying resilient amid uncertainty

Over half of small business owners surveyed by Capital One reported feeling stressed in the past year

A new survey of small business owners conducted by Capital One looked at how small businesses are dealing with adversity and remaining resilient amid uncertainty about the economic outlook.

Capital One surveyed over 1,000 small business owners with less than $20 million in total annual revenue and at least one employee and found that the need for small businesses to be nimble to keep pace with the competition and not fall behind in the use of new, emerging technologies can take a toll on the owners who run them.

"Stress, anxiety and burnout are very real issues for small businesses," David Rabkin, executive VP and head of Business Cards and Payments at Capital One, told FOX Business. "Owning a business can take a toll on small business owners, employees, and the business itself, with economic hardships and uncertainty being the most commonly mentioned stressors."

"Many respondents cited needing to meaningfully pivot business practices to stay afloat. Examples include changing products or services offered, adapting their business models, changing (or adding) technology platforms, and redefining their target markets," he explained. "Frequent changes driven by the broader economic environment are at the core of why 52% of small business owners expressed feeling stressed in the past year and 35% reported feeling mental exhaustion."

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man looking at financials

Over half of small business owners surveyed said they felt stressed in the last year, with over a third feeling mentally exhausted. (iStock / iStock)

The survey also found that when small businesses are confronted with potentially pivoting their business to get ahead or keep pace, turning to their customers for feedback is a popular course of action with 49% saying they have discussed with customers whether and how to pivot their business.

"We're seeing small businesses listen to their customers' feedback and use it as a key impetus to make meaningful changes. When owners need to pivot in response to challenges they are facing in their industry, they often start with their customers," Rabkin explained. "Our survey found that over half (53%) of small business owners said that listening to their customers allowed them to make changes effectively."

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Capital One Bank Branch

Capital One Business' Hub offers educational resources for small business owners. (Photographer: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Those interactions can also yield insights that small business owners can harness to better meet the needs of their customers and to broaden their base of customers through their product offerings.

"Small business owners recognize that circumstances such as those of the past several years may require them to branch out of their core product or service areas in order to attract or retain customers," Rabkin said. "Fifty-five percent of businesses surveyed reported that they made changes to better meet customer needs and attract new customers. This frequently included expanding beyond the original focus of their business to help remain resilient to current and anticipated challenges."

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Small Business Shoppers

Capital One's survey found that 90% of U.S. small business owner respondents are optimistic about solving problems facing their businesses and their future. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Even in the midst of economic uncertainty and an ever-evolving competitive landscape, over 90% of America's small business owners said they are optimistic about solving the problems facing their business and the broader future of their businesses.

"Respondents truly embodied the spirit of never giving up and showing resilience to succeed in their respective businesses," Rabkin noted. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
COF CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP. 140.62 -1.19 -0.84%

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He added that Capital One Business offers a hub for small business owners to access educational resources, get advice about things like accessing capital and learn from other small business owners' successes.

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