Utah small business owners worry about accessing capital as Washington scrambles to avert default on national debt

New survey finds that 82% of Utah small business owners are concerned about availability of capital, a shocking turnaround in sentiment from last April

Sixty-four percent of Utah small business owners say they will be negatively impacted if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling; 91% believe it’s important that the federal government avoids defaulting on our national debt

Utah small business owners – much like the U.S. Government – are facing a credit crunch, with 82% of respondents reporting they are concerned about their ability to access capital, a stunning shift from one year ago when 77% said they were confident in their ability to access capital. This jarring turnaround is just one key takeaway from a new survey of small business owners from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices released during National Small Business Week.

Of respondents who have applied for a small business loan in the past three months (23%), 60% have found it somewhat or very difficult to access affordable capital. Sixty percent also said rising interest rates are impacting their ability to service existing debt.

“Rising interest rates and tighter credit conditions have made it far more difficult to access affordable funding to support small business growth,” said Keni Aikau, owner of The Hungry Hawaiian. “These compounding challenges offer yet another reason why Congress should modernize the Small Business Administration, the agency charged with making certain small business owners like me have abundant access to capital.”

Small business owners also voiced concern about the debt ceiling fight in Washington, with 64% saying they would be negatively impacted if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling and 91% saying it is important for the federal government not to default on its debt. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said it is important for Congress to enact spending cuts in conjunction with raising the debt ceiling.

“No one knows the exact date when the federal government will no longer be able to pay its debt, but these survey results make clear that a default would have very negative ramifications for small business owners,” said Joe Wall, national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices. “Over the coming weeks, America’s small business owners will be looking to Washington for certainty and a sound resolution to the nation’s credit crunch.”

Other notable data points from the survey of Utah small business owners include:

  • Hiring and retaining workers continues to pose a challenge to Utah small business owners, with 79% of those currently hiring finding it difficult to recruit qualified candidates
  • Seventy-five percent said inflationary pressures on their small business have increased over the past three months.
  • Compared to three months ago, 50% said the business climate has gotten worse, with 33% saying it has stayed the same.
  • Looking at their bottom-line post-pandemic, 50% say their profits are lower than before the pandemic.
  • Small business owners are keeping an eye on emerging technology, like artificial intelligence (AI). Sixty-five percent are watching news about AI closely, with 49% believing AI could have a positive impact on their business and 13% saying it will have a negative impact.

This data is based on a survey of 1,740 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses participants conducted by Babson College and David Binder Research from April 20-25, 2023. The survey included small business owners from 48 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.