DALLAS (NewsNation) — The past few years have been tough on small businesses due to issues including the pandemic, inflation, supply chain constraints and worker shortages, but many businesses have been able to keep afloat.
There are more small businesses now than before the pandemic, according to federal data. Even in the face of a recession, small business owners are also learning how to deal with challenges like how best to serve their customers.
Jewel Rodriguez quit her insurance job to help her husband open Classic BJ’s Cafe in Euless, Texas in March 2020.
“Our opening weekend they came and told us we had to shut down for COVID,” Rodriguez recalled.
They got through it, but then came more challenges like higher food prices and staffing shortages.
“Definitely the lack of workers. and trying to get someone consistent to come in to work,” Rodriguez said. “I have four kids so trying to have someone in there because if they’re sick or something like that.”
One of Rodriguez’s customers shares the same struggle in his maintenance business.
“We got 50 or so employees I could hire right now 10 or 15 if they wanted overtime they could get it,” said Dennis Box of DBox, Inc.
More than 40 percent of small business owners can’t find workers and 32 percent said inflation is their biggest problem, according to a survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
The Small Business Administration said people’s work preferences have shifted since the pandemic.
“People don’t want to work for others. People don’t want to go back to offices now. They are so accustomed to working from home,” said Herbert Austin, a Small Business Administration district director.
Federal data shows there are now 33 million small businesses across the country, up from 31.7 million in October 2020.
“The calls coming in this office, maybe 50 percent of them are I want to start a small business,” Austin said.
Rodriguez and Box said they have raised prices to offset the cost of inflation — something they didn’t want to do but had to.