2021 Small Business Survey Results

The Year Ahead

The pulse of the small business market

First Citizens is on your side, by your side. That's why we recently conducted our seventh annual Small Business Forecast—to learn about the small business landscape in each of our markets. We hope you find our learnings as interesting and valuable as we do.

How are small business owners feeling about their business?



Over half of all respondents considered their business successful or very successful in the previous year, which is down 17 points from 2019's survey.



Nearly two-thirds of small businesses are optimistic about long-term economic conditions over the next 2 to 3 years, on par with 2019's survey. 



Nearly 8 out of 10 businesses are confident they'll grow in the next year (a 9% increase since September 2020, and a return to pre-pandemic level of optimism).



Uncertainty around COVID-19 is cited as the biggest challenge to small businesses last year. 40% still have concerns about the pandemic's impact (compared to 51% 6 months ago).

Are small businesses looking for funding?

  • 40% of business owners plan to seek funding in the next 6 to 12 months, which is similar to our last survey.
  • 49% consider bank loans to be the most anticipated source of funding, with business credit cards a close second at 40%.
  • Two-thirds of businesses cite the amount of time to secure funding as a top concern.
  • 60% express apprehension that banks won't understand their business.

Are you planning for growth in 2021?

47% plan to add new products and services—a 4% increase from September 2020

43% plan to increase their advertising and marketing budget

44% plan to hire more employees

41% plan to continue to prioritize current customer loyalty and satisfaction

27% between 18 to 34 plan to involve more of their staff in sales and business development. Only 6% of those 55+ plan to do the same in 2021

26% plan to upgrade current facilities and equipment—a 4% increase from September 2020


Insights for your small business

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