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Despite Two Years in Pandemic Mode, Michigan Businesses Continue to Fight Through

March 2, 2022

Originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS magazine

Although it’s hard to believe, here we are in March of 2022. It marks two years since Michigan, and the rest of the nation, was impacted by the waves of the pandemic. Right away, your team at SBAM went into high gear, working diligently to help its members navigate the uncertainty. For many, however, these are still very uncertain times. Please know that the SBAM team remains here, working for you.

As we recognize two full years of the pandemic, Michigan small businesses continue to show their resiliency, although many are still challenged by the economic implications. In fact, SBAM’s recent Winter 2022 survey shows that 14 percent of respondents still feel pessimistic about the long-term survival of their businesses.

This same survey of 600 small businesses indicates that the top issues our members face include workforce shortages, inflation and supply chain disruptions.

Workforce Challenges

Thirty-five percent of small businesses have seen a decrease in their workforce size, with 12 percent experiencing a decrease of more than 20 percent. To combat that challenge, 70 percent of businesses are increasing wages to attract and maintain employees. Small businesses are also turning to additional employee benefits to attract and retain talent, offering more paid time off and continuing remote/hybrid work schedules.

SBAM’s President & CEO, Brian Calley, recently wrote, “A desire for growth is a sign that there is room for more economic prosperity. Having more jobs is good, but that growth won’t happen without more people to fill those jobs. While it is tempting to try to decide which jobs the government should try to attract, the economy is vast and demands change often. Programs developed in silos around specific, current needs are not likely to move as fast as the economy. We need a versatile and resilient workforce, and we need to be thinking on scale.”

Within the broad scope of workforce challenges, we know child care remains a prime issue for many of our members and their employees. Michigan is positioning itself as a leader in child care solutions, and SBAM stands committed to working with legislators to ensure this important policy issue is addressed for small business owners.

Economic Challenges

A staggering 87 percent of small businesses are experiencing higher costs than before the pandemic, including 43 percent reporting that costs are substantially higher. Michigan small businesses are not alone—this is being felt across the globe. Higher prices combined with supply chain shortages are wreaking havoc. In fact, 61 percent indicate that supply chain shortages are having a moderate to extreme impact on their business.

In this issue of Focus, Leon LaBrecque discusses ways to maximize your small business potential and create value for your business in his article, “Your Business is an Investment. It’s Time to Start Thinking of it That Way.” SBAM will continue to report and offer support on these and other pressing economic issues.

What’s Next?

SBAM has been conducting these surveys quarterly since the beginning of the pandemic. The results shape how we advocate for you in Lansing and Washington, D.C., including the ways we support pro-small business candidates. SBAM’s Director of Government Operations, Alexa Kramer, offers insight into that process in her “Your Voice” column. Stay tuned throughout 2022 as we release candidate endorsements and bring you details on pertinent races.

The survey also asked what you need help with most this year. Top results included marketing, workplace trends, HR compliance and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. As the year progresses, we look to develop content in these areas.

Reach Out

If there’s something on your mind, please let us know. We love to hear from our members about recent wins or the challenges you’re facing. We’re always available at sbam@sbam.org. And please watch for the Spring 2022 survey to come out sometime in April. We value your feedback!


Sarah Miller, CAE is Vice President Marketing & Strategic Communications for SBAM. You can reach her at sarah.miller@sbam.org.

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