Small Business - Understanding Small Business Challenges

Risky Economic Environment

Small businesses struggle to exist in a risky economic environment. While two-thirds of new small businesses survive at least 2 years, only 44% survive at least 4 years. These numbers are consistent across sectors. One research team found that businesses that lasted five years had less than half the annual workplace injury rate as businesses that lasted only two years. Market forces, structural changes, and emerging social and business climate threats may affect levels of resources available for occupational safety and health initiatives for small businesses.

Financial Limitations

Financial limitations are frequently cited by small business owners as a barrier to implementing recommended health and safety programs. Other issues frequently take precedence when small businesses survive on the edge of viability. For example, according to a National Federation of Independent Business membership survey, the number one small business issue is the cost and availability of insurance.

Page last reviewed: June 4, 2018