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Crucial Insights: 5 Key Statistics US Small Business Owners Need to Know

By Nick Mann 🔹

In the ever-changing world of American entrepreneurship, staying current on recent trends is critical to success. For this post, I’ve compiled five important small business statistics that US business owners need to know based on this Forbes list.

Understanding these stats will shed light on current challenges as well as opportunities to help your business thrive in our current market. Let’s jump right in.

Only 13% of Small Businesses Are Owned By Millennials: But This Number is Quickly Increasing

When most people think of startups, they envision a younger generation at the helm — usually millennials or even Generation Z. But according to recent data, this isn’t the case (at least not yet).

Forbes reports that among American small businesses, only 13% are owned by millennials (born between 1981 and 1996). The bulk of small businesses are owned by Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) at 47% and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) at 40%. Business Community - Small Business Ownership by Generation - Forbes

Source: Forbes

That being said, separate data from Guidant Financial suggests Millennial business ownership is on the rise and they’re quickly closing in on Baby Boomers. “The generational divide in small business is narrowing — and it’s happening faster than we’ve seen before,” says Guidant Financial.

So while Generation X and Baby Boomers still lead the way in small business ownership, we’ll likely see a tipping point in upcoming years where it will be more evenly distributed with Millennials.

57% of Small Businesses Are Owned By Males: But Gender Equality is Growing

According to Forbes research, there’s a disparity between the number of male business owners and female business owners. More specifically, 57% of small businesses are male-owned, while only 43% are female-owned. Business Community - Small Business Ownership by Demographics - Forbes

Source: Forbes

However, we’re seeing a growing trend where female small business ownership is on the rise. “While males still own a majority of small businesses, the increasing percentage of female-owned businesses, currently at 43%, shows a positive shift toward greater gender equality in entrepreneurship,” Forbes writes.

This is something that’s largely attributed to more inclusivity, fewer barriers to females in the business world, and increasing resources and networks to support women in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

The bottom line is that there’s much greater gender equality in small business ownership than in the past. And if you’re a female who’s been considering starting your own business, now is the perfect time to do so.

29% of Businesses Still Don’t Have a Website

It’s 2024, and the world is more tech-centric than ever. So many would automatically assume that nearly all small businesses would have a website, especially when you consider how affordable and easy it is to build one with zero coding knowledge.

But that’s not the case. In fact, nearly one in three small businesses still don’t have a website.

While there are different reasons for this, Forbes notes that 20% of small business owners use social media instead of creating a website. Rather than going to the trouble of setting up a site, paying for hosting, and updating it, many just go the social media route.

And I can certainly understand this logic. I frequently find myself checking a business’s Instagram or Facebook page to get more information.

But this isn’t necessarily a smart business decision given that “shoppers go online first in over 60% of shopping occasions,” with most starting with Google. Without a website, you’re almost guaranteed to be losing out on leads and customers. 

The good news is that this lack of web presence among many small businesses presents an opportunity. Based on the numbers, you theoretically have the edge over nearly a third of your competitors by simply having a website. And with platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, and WooCommerce, you can create one with ease.

More Than a Quarter of Business is Done Online

To further prove the importance of having a website, consider that over 25% of business is now done online.

In 2023, there were 2.64 billion e-commerce shoppers — a number that was largely accelerated by the COVID pandemic. Looking at long-term projections from Statista, the number of e-commerce shoppers will only increase. Just look at the predicted retail e-commerce sales growth from 2014 to 2027. Business Community - Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2027 - Statista

Source: Statista


The point here is that selling online has never been more important and is crucial for connecting with the largest possible percentage of your demographic. So if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, there’s never been a better time to get started.

76% of Shoppers Check a Business’s Website Before Visiting a Brick-and-Mortar Location

Finally, it’s important to mention the overlap between the digital and physical shopping worlds.

“Just because a business operates in-person, doesn’t mean brick-and-mortars don’t need a website,” Forbes explains. “In fact, 76% of online shoppers reportedly check a business’s website before visiting their physical store or location.”

I know this is something I often do, where I’ll check a store’s inventory, images, rating, and reviews to determine if it’s a place worth checking out in person. Understanding this link between online and physical shopping is essential, and putting the effort into building your online presence can often increase your in-store foot traffic. 

Growing Your Business with Cove

A huge part of succeeding at small business is staying on top of trends like these and connecting with other professionals. At Cove, we’ve built an incredibly supportive online community that welcomes small business owners of all types, regardless of age or gender.

Our members come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and competencies, with our areas of expertise including:

  • Accounting

  • Sales

  • Writing

  • Marketing

  • Web design

  • IT

  • Operations

  • Business development

  • HR

In our community, you can collaborate, network, and scale your small business, while staying on top of recent trends and leveraging resources to get ahead. Get input on a potential business idea. Seek guidance from others who have been in your shoes. Or, collaborate with like-minded professionals on projects. These are just a few things you can do with Cove.

We’ve also introduced free membership trials where you can get 180 days for free with no credit card, and you can cancel at any time. Once you’re signed up, you simply fill out your member profile and complete your self-onboarding.

About the Author

Nick Mann is a freelance writer/content strategist focusing on business, marketing, finance, and tech. Through his content, his goal is to help small businesses generate quality leads to grow and thrive. Business Community


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