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Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Small Business Fraud Concerns and Policy Awareness: Insights from KeyBank's 2024 Survey


Small business owners, often the first to feel the effects of economic fluctuations like inflation, remain optimistic about their ventures despite ongoing challenges. According to KeyBank’s 2024 Small Business Survey, 65% of them express confidence in being able to cover their operational expenses for a month using their cash reserves in case of unexpected needs.
Nevertheless, a significant portion—37%—anticipate a slight increase in operating costs due to inflation, while 27% foresee a more significant rise within the next year. Among the primary concerns for small business owners in the upcoming year are fluctuations in sales or revenue (35%), delayed payments from clients or customers (29%), and high overhead costs (28%).
Despite these challenges, small business owners are demonstrating resilience by implementing precautionary measures to safeguard their businesses, employees, and communities. Actions include implementing cost-cutting measures (32%), increasing cash reserves (30%), and exploring alternative financing options (22%). These proactive steps could serve as early indicators of an improving economic landscape in the United States.
Mike Walters, President of Business Banking at KeyBank, acknowledges the complexities small business owners face, especially amidst economic uncertainty, inflation, and high interest rates. He commends their resilience, forged through years of navigating financial uncertainties, and notes their ability to persevere through inflation's final stretch while remaining on course for economic growth.
Recognizing the importance of bank relationships, small business owners are turning to their banks for guidance. The top advice received includes cutting costs through reduced discretionary spending (34%), establishing emergency funds (22%), and diversifying revenue streams by introducing new products or services (20%). While over half (52%) of small business owners trust their banks to understand their cash flow concerns, approximately 20% are unsure, indicating an opportunity for banks and business owners to strengthen their relationships through enhanced communication and support.

“In times of uncertainty, trusted advice from qualified professionals can be a lifeline for business owners, but many may not be aware of the advice and solutions their relationships with their bankers can provide,” said Walters. “Bank services extend beyond just traditional checking and savings accounts to cash flow and credit solutions. Maintaining a strong relationship with your bank can lead to uniquely tailored strategies.”

KeyBank, recognized as a leading Small Business Administration (SBA) lender, has extended over $4.5 billion in loans and lines of credit to small businesses.

Click here to know more about KeyBank’s opportunities and programs for your small business.

Fraud Emerges as a Concern 
As business operations increasingly shift towards digital platforms, fraud has emerged as a significant concern for small business owners. Their primary worries revolve around payment fraud, including unauthorized transactions or electronic fund transfers (44%), followed by identity theft (37%), malware and ransomware attacks (28%), and phishing and email scams (27%). To combat this threat, small business owners are prioritizing fraud prevention, remaining vigilant against evolving tactics, and implementing preventive measures to safeguard against potential future attacks. For insights on business security and risk management advice offered by KeyBank, explore further resources.
Navigating the U.S. Presidential Election 
Election seasons inherently breed uncertainty among Americans, and for business owners, the political landscape intensifies as potential policy shifts could directly impact their operations. As they brace for potential changes, small business owners are particularly attentive to policy areas such as taxation (38%), employment and labor laws (25%), and healthcare policies (25%). Given the pivotal role small businesses play in the nation's economic vitality, owners, despite their current confidence, are closely monitoring the landscape for any policy alterations.
Conducted online via SurveyMonkey, this survey enlisted 1,983 respondents aged 18-99 across the United States who own or manage small-to-medium-sized businesses with annual gross revenues below $10 million. The survey was completed in March 2024.