This morning we released the “2023 Thryv Small Business Index” report and, in the wake of unprecedented challenges, small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have not only survived but thrived, displaying remarkable resilience amid uncertain times.

Thryv’s Small Business Index delves into the optimism and tech-driven strategies that underpin their success, revealing a narrative of adaptability and forward-thinking resilience. 

The State of Optimism

The entrepreneurial landscape has witnessed a surge in SMBs, with over 10 million applications submitted in the U.S. since 2021, signaling an inspiring wave of innovation. However, behind this surge lies a tale of perseverance in the face of adversity. Despite the strains of the pandemic, increased workloads, and staffing hurdles, SMB owners maintain an overwhelmingly positive outlook.

42% of the SMBs that expect their revenue to increase in the next six months believe it will grow by more than 20%.

Bullish Outlook and Burnout Challenges

Optimism translates into concrete expectations, with more than half of SMB owners anticipating revenue growth in the next six months. Of those anticipating an increase, 42% believe they’ll see a growth of at least 20%.

2023 Small Business Index Report Chart 2

When it comes to their industry outlooks, younger business owners, 21 to 34 years old, are more bullish on their own industry with an expected improvement of 52% when compared to their peers over the age of 35, who expect improvements of about 37%.

Nevertheless, challenges persist. Burnout looms large, with a staggering 86% of owners exceeding the conventional 40-hour workweek. 91% of respondents with more than 10 employees work more than 40 hours per week, compared to 74% of solopreneurs.  Business size is far from the only factor. Age is in play also. Nearly 90% of business owners aged 21-34 are working more than 40 hours per week, as opposed to 78% for owners aged 55+.

48.5 hours is the average work week for owners.

Despite this strain, an overwhelming majority remain committed to their businesses, with 68% intending to carry on until retirement, often with a succession plan in place.

Embracing Technology for Resilience

In the quest for sustainable success, SMBs are embracing technology as a cornerstone of their resilience strategy. From enhancing customer experiences to boosting operational efficiency and even driving financial gains, technology emerges as a vital ally in their pursuit of competitiveness. In fact, 7 in 10 feel that technology gives them an advantage when competing against big organizations.

2023 Small Business Index Report Chart 8

81% say using technology has improved the experience for their customers. One-quarter of SMBs say software has both enabled them to provide better service and increased their ability to serve more customers.

The Road Ahead

Despite persistent challenges, the resilience shown by digitally transformed SMBs offers a glimmer of hope. Armed with technological expertise, these businesses are surviving and thriving in a fiercely competitive market. Their unwavering commitment to using technology to strengthen their core operations, meet customer needs, and outmaneuver larger competitors paints an encouraging picture for what lies ahead.

Ultimately, it’s about more than just getting by – it’s about thriving. SMBs are exemplifying how innovation and resilience pave the path for sustained success. Get the full insights on how small businesses plan on growing in the months ahead. Download the 2023 Small Business Index report now.