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New Data Suggests Microbusinesses Face Different Top Challenges Than Small Businesses

New Data Suggests Microbusinesses Face Different Top Challenges Than Small Businesses

Published 02-15-24

Submitted by GoDaddy

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As originally published by GoDaddy’s Venture Forward Research Initiative

The Big Fact: Microbusiness owners struggle or experience more challenges marketing their business online and knowing what to do at each phase of the business compared to small business owners, according to GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative. By contrast, small business owners experience bigger challenges finding workers with necessary skills, tackling rising costs on wages and materials, and networking with other business owners.

While expanding a venture from microbusiness to small business comes with inherent growing pains, ensuring that microbusiness have the resources they need to get started is essential to their success.

Three biggest challenges for microbusiness and small business owners


Marketing my business online

  • Microbusiness owners: 39%
  • Small business owners: 12%

Knowing what to do at each phase

  • Microbusiness owners: 27%
  • Small business owners: 12%

Finding employees, independent contractors, or consultants with necessary skills

  • Microbusiness owners: 13%
  • Small business owners: 24%

Rising costs on wages and materials

  • Microbusiness owners: 10%
  • Small business owners: 24%

Networking with other business owners

  • Microbusiness owners: 11%
  • Small business owners: 25%

Source: Entrepreneur Survey Results: U.S. National & Cities, February 2023

Motivational differences: Microbusiness and small business owners listed very different reasons for starting a business.

For Microbusiness owners, this includes the desire to:

  • Be their own boss (43%). 
  • Support a cause or hobby they are passionate about (32%). 
  • Have the flexibility a traditional job couldn’t provide (30%). 
Chart showing the three biggest challenges for microbusinesses and small business owners.

By contrast, small business owners who participated in GoDaddy’s American Dream survey listed their top reasons for starting a business as the desire to:

  • Make extra money (49%). 
  • Stay active while being retired (40%). 
  • Achieve a dream they’ve always had of starting a business (33%). 

And while the majority of American small business owners believe that being a successful entrepreneur is a key way to create new generational wealth (78%), many maintain modest business aspirations, such as wanting to either stay a ‘solo entrepreneur’ (28%) or remain a small business but with some employees and perhaps a physical location (35%). Only 12% aspire to one day become a corporate business with a large employee base and headquarters.

The research: GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative analyzes more than 20 million online businesses with a digital presence (measured by a unique domain and an active website). Most of these businesses employ fewer than ten people, categorizing each as a microbusiness. While these microbusinesses may be small, their impact on economies is outsized even though they are often too informal or too new to show up in traditional government statistics.

Since 2018, Venture Forward surveyed more than 36,000 small business owners with a digital presence, making it the source for microbusiness data and insights.

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