Video: How Supply Chain Disruptions and Staffing Shortages Affect Small Business

Date: October 19, 2022

Hear from small business owners experiencing supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages

Ever since small businesses reopened after the COVID-19 shutdowns, there have been enormous challenges. Currently, small business owners are facing economic headwinds with inflation and, to make matters worse, it is still extremely difficult to find employees and get the materials needed to operate. Hear from several NFIB members about how staffing shortages and supply chain disruptions have hurt their small businesses.

The video series “In Their Own Words” features small business owners from around the country, giving them a platform to speak on the issues that affect their businesses daily.

Supply Chain Disruptions

In the NFIB Research Center’s Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report, 32% of small business owners reported that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Thirty-four percent report a moderate impact and 22% report a mild impact. Only 10% of small business owners reported no impact from recent supply chain disruptions. In interviews, several NFIB members discussed specifically how these disruptions have impacted their business.

Tina Miller is the owner of Walkabout Outfitters in Virginia. Tina discussed the difficulties that arise for her business if they can’t get their product to sell.  

“If we can’t get any of our merchandise in order to sell our merchandise, then it makes it really difficult to stay in business.”

Kellie Loudin, owner of Rumer-Loudin, Inc. in Ohio, talked about how supply chain disruptions impact their customers.

“Furnace parts and components we are having a hard time getting, so our customers have to wait. I think in a way you can explain to them what’s happening, but it still is a poor reflection on your business that you can’t control. And that they have to wait without cooling or without heating.”

Neil Abramson is the owner of ECI Stores in Massachusetts. He explained that one product they are having issues getting enough of is price tags, which could cause major problems down the road if they run out.

“We use hundreds of thousands of individual price tags every year and even that we’re running into supply chain issues, just getting price tags to be able to price our merchandise and keep everything moving in our community.”

Staffing Shortages

Forty-six percent of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, according to NFIB’s September jobs report. Small business owners reporting labor quality as their top business problem remains elevated at 22%, and 10% of owners reported labor cost as their single most important problem.

Laura Lucia of New York is the owner of Lucia Specialized Hauling, Inc., and discussed her frustration with the lack of staff which forced her to turn work down.

“If I could double my staff and have some more truck drivers, we could do twice as much, which would not only help our bottom line, but it would help lots of other people that are looking for their supplies.”

Eddie Wetherill owns Wetherill Engineering, Inc. in North Carolina. Eddie explained the struggle he is having finding qualified employees to hire and the strain this has caused on his business.

“We can actually have 10 more people in our office today if we could find them, but we can’t get them.”

Tina Miller also shared that her business’ biggest problem has been staffing shortages even though they’re going to great lengths to find employees.

“We’ve tried increasing wages. We’re trying our best in every way, trying to be creative to try to get people working. But at the end of the day, we cannot find people. We are desperate and it’s causing us to shorten our hours and causing stress on the existing employees.”

Small business owners will continue to speak out on the issues that are it more difficult to run their businesses and NFIB will continue to advocate on behalf of our members while they face these challenges.

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