New Hampshire’s business owners report that their financial situations are improving. Results from Phase 3 of NH Small Business Development Center’s Business Resiliency Survey show that respondents continue to become more optimistic about their business's likelihood of remaining in operation in the near future.
Phase 3 is the conclusion of the three-part Business Resiliency Survey, conducted together with the UNH Survey Center from September 15 – October 11, 2021. Phase 3 received 1,057 responses from businesses in 165 cities and towns. Sixty-four business organizations partnered with the SBDC by sending an open-link email invitation to participate in the survey to their member businesses.
Phase 1 took place in June 2020, and Phase 2 in February 2021.
Working with sixty-four survey partners is a data collection methodology that provided important benefits for this survey. The range of responses from businesses in a variety of industries, stages of growth, and regions of the state provided SBDC the opportunity to corroborate trends and reinforce what they are hearing anecdotally. Furthermore, the three-phase approach provided a strong longitudinal analysis of data.
- Dr. Andrew Smith, Director, UNH Survey Center
The NH SBDC Business Resiliency Survey is made possible with funds from the CARES Act.
Businesses’ financial outlook has improved. In June, 2020, more than four in five reported their monthly revenue had decreased as a result of the pandemic. Currently, just over half report that their revenue has been negatively affected by the pandemic. In an effort to control costs, one-quarter of respondents also said that their owners are working without a salary. However, nearly one in five say their revenue has actually increased.
When asked how they expect New Hampshire businesses will do in the upcoming year, 33% of respondents said the state’s businesses will enjoy good times financially, 10% think they will experience bad times, and 56% anticipate mixed conditions.
Two-thirds of respondents report being affected a lot or some by supply chain issues in 2021. More than half say they have been affected by increased costs of goods and delays in sourcing from domestic suppliers while four in ten have been affected by higher domestic shipping costs.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents say their business applied for COVID relief in 2020, just under half have applied in 2021, and just over half would consider applying if more relief funds were made available in the future. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) was the most-used COVID relief program, with nine out of ten businesses receiving PPP aid.
Respondents most frequently cite maintaining sales or revenue, a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, maintaining customers, supply chain disruptions, and public acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine as things they are currently concerned about, while slightly fewer mention energy costs and cybersecurity.
Recruiting and retaining workforce remains a significant concern. Nearly half say they currently have the same number of employees as they did in February 2020, while three in eight report having fewer employees. Businesses are managing staffing recruitment and retention challenges by reducing open hours, allowing remote work, increasing efficiency or automation, or by offering increased compensation and one-time bonuses.
The survey results presented incredibly valuable insights into the challenges businesses faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the data aided us in determining the best ways to help businesses. Based on the success of the three Resiliency Surveys conducted, NH SBDC is strongly considering a similar follow-on survey with partners in 2022 so that we can all continue learning from and supporting NH’s businesses.
- Liz Gray, SBDC
NH SBDC continues to offer highly individualized advising and education, at no cost to New Hampshire businesses, and our specialty programs in Cybersecurity, Resiliency, and Sustainability will provide targeted training on issues highlighted in the survey.
Thank you to the Phase 3 Survey Partners
- U.S. Small Business Administration - NH District Office
- NH Department of Business & Economic Affairs
- UNH Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics
- New Hampshire Alliance of Regional Development Corporations
- Center for Women & Enterprise
- UNH Cooperative Extension
- UNH CEO & Family Enterprise Center
- Clean Energy NH
- Community College System of NH
- Connecticut River Artisan Group
- Coworking House
- Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
- Hannah Grimes Center
- League of NH Craftsmen
- New Market Business Association
- NH Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
- NH Business & Industry Association
- NH Grocers Association
- NH Lodging & Restaurant Association
- NH Retail Association
- NH State Council on the Arts
- NH Tech Alliance
- Portsmouth Economic Development
- State Early Learning Alliance
- Stay Work Play
- Town of Derry, Economic Development
- UNH Career and Professional Success
- Upper Valley Business Alliance
- Central NH Chamber of Commerce
- Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth
- Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce
- The Falls Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Hudson Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Keene and Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Merrimack-Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce
- Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce
- Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce
- Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce
- Lake Sunapee Region Chamber of Commerce
- Meredith Area Chamber of Commerce
- Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Northern Gateway Chamber of Commerce
- Twin Mountain Bretton Woods Chamber of Commerce
- Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce
- Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce