210 Statistics for Small Businesses in 2021

Small business statistics and data can help you get into the market. To help you make informed decisions about starting your own small business, we have compiled over 210 small business statistics. Remember that the COVID-19 influenza pandemic of 2020 has impacted most of the data collection in 2021. This could have a lasting impact. This data can be used to calculate your business plan launch, and overall growth.

Comparative Analysis 2019 to 2020

To help you understand the context of our updated 2021 information, we have created a benchmark that compares 2019 and 2020 data. It’s important that you understand the benchmark statistics for 2019 in order to understand how COVID-19 affected small businesses in 2020.

2019 2020
24% of businesses anticipate hiring in the next year A mere 16% of businesses anticipate hiring in the next year
3.8% Unemployment 14.7% Unemployment
59% of respondents expect increased revenue in the next year 45% anticipate revenue increasing in the next year
NFIB SMB Optimism Index July: 104.6 NFIB SMB Optimism Index July: 98.8
NFIB SMB Uncertainty Index November: 72 NFIB SMB Uncertainty Index November: 98

Source: Bank of America and SBANFIB.


Did You Know?

The NFIB Optimism Index uses 10 seasonally adjusted survey indicators to gauge business health. These include responses to questions such as “Plans for Increase Employment,” “Expect Retail sales to Increase” and “Now is a Good time to Expand.”

The National Federation of Independent Businesses SMB Optimism Index had reached 95 as of January 2021. This is 0.9 points less than December 2020 and 3 points below the national average of 98 over the past 47 years.


The Failure of Small Business Plans in 2020

Many small businesses were optimistic pre-COVID 2019 and projected a positive outlook for 2020.

  • With a positive outlook for 2020, small businesses have created 1.6 Million net new jobs in 2019.
  • 67% of businesses had plans to expand in 2020, before the pandemic.
  • A mere 12% of business owners planned to apply for a loan within the next year. Many would need one.
  • 56% of business owners expected to grow their business in the next year. This is a great achievement for many businesses.
  • 69% of business owners stated that they had taken precautionary steps to protect their business from economic downturns, including establishing an emergency fund (37%).


Although statistics on the impact of COVID-19 on the small-business economy continue to be compiled, there are some indicators:

  • In 2020, 38% of the essential SMBs remained open
  • 37% of the remaining open positions were reopened by adjusting business style to ensure safety
  • Remote operations are now 10%
  • 8% of the site was shut down, but they plan to reopen.
  • After a temporary closure, 7% were reopened
  • 59% of entrepreneurs anticipate the COVID-19 effect to have an impact on their bottom line within two years.
  • 31% of managers and owners reported that their business wasn’t operating (May 2020).


Source: Bank of America and Data For Good. Source: JPMorgan Chase.

Self-Employment and Metro Declines

Between April 2019 and November 2020, the number of self-employed individuals in metropolitan areas fell by 21%.


Did You Know?

New York City was the area with the highest number of business losses. The city also saw a decline in self-employment by 44%.


  • Despite rising reopening rates between April and October 2020, small business revenues fell 69% in Manhattan, 35%, 34%, Queens, 34%, Brooklyn, 23%, and 23% respectively, when compared to the start of the calendar year.
  • The American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law by Congress in April 2021, will provide $12.6 billion to New York State. New York City will receive $5.9billion, while other local governments will receive $4.9billion.
  • 78% of small business owners still reported negative business effects as of March 2021.

Source: SBA Office of Advocacy and New York City Comptroller

  • Cash balances (cash flows) declined in every city among small business, averaging a national metropolitan decline of 12.7%
  • Cash balance declined most steeply in Atlanta, whose average small business cash balances declined by 21%
  • Cash balances declined most dramatically in the restaurant and personal services industries


Did You Know?

The Consumer Confidence Index shows how optimistic consumers are about their financial situation. It has a significant impact on every industry’s outlook and is a key indicator for foreseeable consumer spending. It is one of the many ways that market research firms forecast industry data.


Industry Cross-Section

Below are the top five small-business industries, with unique statistics about each industry and COVID-19’s effect on each.

Small businesses 12% – Food and Restaurant

Retail – 11% Small Businesses

Small Business Services – 11%

Health, Beauty, and Fitness Services: 9% of Small Businesses

Residential and Commercial Services – 7 % of Small Businesses

Financial Impacts

Money is not made by luck. The past year has seen the US lose over 22.4 million jobs and was one of the most difficult financially in American history. Despite federal efforts to save small businesses, the financial consequences were severe for both civilians and businesses.


Did You Know?

According to the SBA 9 million loans in excess of $750 billion were issued in the first three quarters 2020 to stabilize small businesses and ensure their continued existence into 2021.

Source: SBA


  • 42% of entrepreneurs applied to one or more loans in order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The following were applied by entrepreneurs:
    • 34% Paycheck Protection Program
    • SBA Economic Disaster Loan – 16%
    • 5% Traditional Bank Loan, or Other
  • These rates were used by small business owners to finance the loan:
    • 75% Payroll and Staffing
    • 62% Operating expenses
    • 20% Promotion and Marketing
    • 20% off on New Equipment and Technology
  • In January 2021, the average rate for short-term loans was 4.9%


Data for Good surveyed 86,000 SMB owners and found that two-thirds of them planned to reopen. They also sourced the following funds:

  • 41% – Personal savings
  • 39% – You don’t know
  • 20% – Other Financing Plans


  • Personal and formal business finances are the same:
    • 29% of respondents agree that workers should be paid wages and salaries
    • 28% of respondents agree to pay bills
    • 22% of the population agree to rent or lease
    • 19% are in agreement – loans and debts
    • 16% of respondents agree to – taxes
    • Employee benefits agree with 11%
    • 42% of respondents agree with the above.
    • 12% of respondents agree with the other
  • Psychological barriers were the main ones that prevented funding, including these:
  • Across industries*, between September 2019 and September 2020, existing small enterprises managed to lower their expenses. Which expenses were limited, how, and how sustainable this survival method remains to be seen:
    • All industry expenses on aggregate were 7% lower at the end of September 2020 as compared to the end of September 2019
    • Health Care Services – lowered expenses by 2%
    • Restaurants – lowered expenses by 18%
    • Personal Services – lowered expenses by 19%

*Retail was the only industry that had its expenses not decrease during this time.

Source: JPMorgan Chase and Guidant Financial


Politicians love to talk about job creation, and with good reason. The US unemployment rate was over 14% in April 2020. This is 23.1 million Americans.


Did You Know?

COVID was the highest unemployment rate since before the Great Depression. It reached 25.5% in august 1932.

Source: Washington Post


  • The second quarter 2020 saw a 13% decrease in income for self-employed owners, the largest quarterly drop in recorded history.
  • Only 45% reported that SMB owners and managers would rehire their workers when they reopen their businesses.
  • Data for Good surveyed 86,000 SMB owners
    • 44% of respondents said that they had to decrease the number of workers or employees at their company because of the pandemic.
    • 22% let go of more than 10 employees
    • Closed business owners and managers reported that 45% would hire the same workers when they reopen their businesses.

Source: SB

Women-Owned Businesses

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women-owned small businesses. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that the COVID-19 epidemic has had a significant impact on the health of small- and medium-sized businesses owned by women. The number of women-owned small businesses that were rated their health as “Somewhat good” or “Very good” at the start of 2020 dropped to 13% by the end of Q3 2020. The COVID-19 initiative and the transition from Q3 2020 to Q1 2030 have had an impact on business health.

Women owners Men owners
The number of female business owners rated their business in Somewhat to Very Good Health fell by 13% during this pandemic (from 60 to 47%) The pandemic caused a drop in the number of male business owners rated their businesses in Somewhat or Very Good Health by 5% (from 67% down to 62%)
Female-owned businesses report a decrease in staffing of 3% Reports from male-owned businesses indicating an increase in staffing rose by 8%
Female-owned businesses do not have any increased plans to invest in their businesses (still at 32% owners). The 11% increase in planning investments by male counterparts (from 28% – 39%) was seen over the same period.
After Q3 of COVID, fewer women-owned businesses anticipate a rise in revenue.
This expectation fell during COVID, from 63% to 49%; an increase of 14%
The Q3 COVID survey showed that male confidence in their revenue has increased to 58%.
Only 24% of female-owned businesses expect to increase their staffing by Q3 2020 In the third quarter of 2020, 36% male-owned businesses will increase their staffing levels in the next year.

Source: JPMorgan Chase Guidant Financial, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Additional statistics:

  • Spring 2020 saw 33% more women who were owner-managers report that their household responsibilities had impacted their ability to concentrate on work than did men (25%).
  • 2021 Small Business Trends Alliance survey found that 77% of women-owned businesses expect to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to the SBTA, the top non-COVID-19 business challenges last reported faced by women entrepreneurs are:
    • 24% – Marketing and Advertising
    • 17% – Lack of Capital / Cash Flow
    • 15% – Recruiting / Retention of Employees
    • 14% – Managing / Providing Benefits
    • 13% – Administrative Work (bookkeeping, payroll, strategy, etc.)
  • According to the SBTA, 31% of surveyed women business owners are “Somewhat Confident” in small business post-COVID-19. Another 14% are “Very Confident.”

Minority-Owned Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on black- and Hispanic-owned companies. They now face the challenges of lower revenues and profit margins as well as cash liquidity. Hispanic-owned businesses that have comparable revenues and cash reserves to white-owned businesses are as likely as those with similar revenues to black-owned businesses to survive, proving that capital access is the key issue.

Cash Balance Comparison 2020

The May 2020 cash balances for white-owned restaurants rose to 50% Black-owned restaurants saw their cash balances rebound at 38% in May 2020
Cash balances of black-owned personal service firms increased by 62% Hispanic-owned and white-owned businesses saw their cash balances increase by less than 25%
Black-owned businesses saw their cash balances drop by 26% The revenue of Asian-owned businesses fell by more than 60%
Black-owned maintenance and repair firms saw their cash balances increase by up to 56% in May Hispanic-owned repair and maintenance companies have cash balances less than 40%


Did You Know?

Black business owners are responsible for 13% and Latinx owners for 28% of the business. However, only 6% of Black business owners have financed growth while 21% of Latinx business owners have financed growth. This compares to 73% of white owners who have financed growth.

Source: JPMorgan Chase (2013-2019 Cohort)


COVID-19 Relief for Race

    • STMB surveyed just over half of the People of Color (POC), entrepreneurs who received assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), in 2020.
    • This compares to 67% who received financial aid from white entrepreneurs.
    • 61% of small-business owners were eligible for governmental economic relief.

Additional Statistics

  • Black business owners are more interested in growing their businesses than maintaining it.
  • A STMB survey of Black entrepreneurs in 2021 found that 43% rated their happiness as “Very happy,” the highest ranking on the scale.
  • At 33%, the majority of Black entrepreneurs in America hold a bachelor’s degree. At 26%, the next highest level of business owners are those with a master’s.
  • 59% of Black entrepreneurs needed $50,000 to start their business. 43% of Black business owners used cash to start their businesses.

Source: JPMorgan Chase and Guidant


Did You Know?

46% of black entrepreneurs were women, making it one of the highest proportions of female owners of small businesses. Source: PRWeb.com


  • The US has 5.2 million minorities who are self-employed.
  • About 6% of minorities in America own their own businesses.
  • 47% of all women-owned companies are owned by women of color
  • They employ 2.2 Million people and generate on average $387 billion in revenues
  • Between 2014 and 2019, the number of businesses owned by women from color increased 43%
  • Black-owned businesses grew at 50% faster than those owned by women of colour, while Native Hawaiian and Pacific businesses grew 41% and 40%, respectively.
  • 2.7% of all business are owned by black women

Source: American Express WBENC , SB

Threat Analysis for Business

The traditional SWOT analysis uses Threats and Opportunities to identify external indicators that can influence business strategy. Not to accept threats lightly, but to take them under advisement and combat them with external opportunities.


Did You Know?

The SWOT analysis, a widely used business development and strategic tool, allows users to map out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and other potential outcomes.



  • These are the 5 most challenging tasks that entrepreneurs have to face.
    • Sales (76% of entrepreneurs are in agreement)
    • Market Research (75% of entrepreneurs agree).
    • Tax Accounting (75% agreement)
    • Cash Flow (74% agreement of entrepreneurs)
    • Setting financial goals (73% of entrepreneurs agree).

Source: Bank of America

Opportunities and business strategy changes

  • 24% of business owners turned lemons into lemonade when they restructured their business models to adapt to the COVID-19 impacts.
    • 61% of respondents developed new products and services
    • 51% of time, products, or services donated
  • Many business owners have turned to technology to counter the negative economic effects of COVID-19.
    • 51% of businesses report an increase in online interaction with clients
    • 36% of online-based personal businesses report that all sales are conducted online.
    • 35% of companies that have made changes to their operations use digital payments more often.
  • Some business owners Do They know what their business needs to survive and many of these are redirected to federal assistance programs. Data for Good surveyed 86,000 SMB owners and found that the owner was most frequently cited.
    • 36% of respondents agree – Credit Access & Guarantees
    • 38% of respondents agree – Salary Subsidies
    • 34% of respondents agree – Tax Deferrals
    • 23% of respondents agree – Help with household members

Source: Data to GoodJPMorgan Chase

2021 and Beyond

Although 2020 was a difficult year, there are opportunities in 2021 and beyond. These useful statistics will provide–finally–forward-looking data that reflects how our economy and small business sector can and will respond to the crisis that is hopefully mostly behind us.

  • There are 2021 opportunities to help entrepreneurs recover
    • Consumer confidence and spending increased by 79%
    • Improved public health confidence by 78%
    • 66% debt forgiveness
    • 66% Small Business Government Relief Programs


Did You Know?

Entrepreneurs who were surveyed by 2021 SBTA found that 29% of them said they started their business because they felt “Ready to be Their Boss.” At 17%, the second reason was “Dissatisfied With Corporate America.”


  • The hiring outlook is slow, but steady. 51% of small businesses tried to hire employees in January. Seasonally adjusted net 17% plan to create new jobs in Q1+2021.
  • The outlook for capital expenditures is not high but it is growing. 22% of small-business owners plan to make capital outlays in Q1+ 2021.
  • Already January 2021, 16% small business owners who have seen a decrease in sales compared to the same time last year blame lower sales volume. Another 6% blames higher business costs.
  • The following concerns were expressed by business owners surveyed for the NFIB Optimism Index in January 2021:
    • 19% – Taxes (up to 2% starting January 2020).
    • 3% – Inflation (up 22% since January 2020).
    • 11% – Sales in poor condition (up 4% since January 2020).
    • 1% – Financing & Interest Rates (same rate as January 2020).
    • 7% – Cost of Labor (down 11% since January 2020).
    • 15% – Government Regulation (up to 2% starting January 2020).
    • 8% – Competition from Big Business (down 11% since January 2020).
    • 21% – Quality of Labor (down by 5% since January 2020).
    • 7% – Insurance Costs and Availability (down 4% since January 2020).
    • 8% – Other (up 1%) from January 2020
  • Nearly one-half million business birth applications were filed in January 2021 (492,133). This is 42.6% more than December 2020.
  • The January 2021 Projected Business Formations, adjusted for seasonal variation were 35,769. This is an increase of 42.9% over December 2020.
  • Retail trade is poised for a rebound, with 2021 business applications exceeding 100,000. In the midst the pandemic, retail business applications fell to a low of 40,000 per month.

Sources: NFIB , Guidant Census

Bottom line

Businesses around the world have had a great year. Data doesn’t judge or announce bad news. It just is. The good thing about data is that we can only work with it and make informed decisions. It is important to understand how data influences our daily business decisions and use it to your advantage when planning, starting or growing a small company.