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From Insights to Impact: Guidant’s 2024 Small Business Trends Study on Entrepreneurs of Color

Explore the 2024 Guidant study on Entrepreneurs of Color, analyzing their challenges, achievements, and the impact of political and economic factors on their businesses.
Entrepreneurs of Color report from Guidant's 2024 Small Business Trends study.

Welcome to our comprehensive summary of Guidant’s 2024 Entrepreneurs of Color study. In a landscape where small businesses continually evolve, it becomes increasingly crucial to grasp the unique experiences of entrepreneurs of color. Every year, Guidant extends its reach to small business owners across the nation, diving into their personal challenges, achievements, and future goals.

This year’s analysis ventures further, examining the significant impact of election-year dynamics and political orientations on these entrepreneurs, alongside the overarching economic influences affecting their enterprises. Join us as we unveil these business leaders’ pivotal trends and insights in 2024.

Top Trends for Entrepreneurs of Color

Snapshot: Entrepreneurs of Color in 2024

  • Primary drivers include seeking autonomy by being their own boss (28%), escaping dissatisfaction with corporate America (21%), pursuing personal passions (18%), and seizing specific opportunities or new ideas (9% each). Other factors like not being ready to retire (8%), job loss or outsourcing (7%), and life-changing events (1%) highlight the diverse and sometimes challenging reasons behind their entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Sixty-eight percent report feeling somewhat or very happy, reflecting satisfaction possibly linked to successful business outcomes, community support, or personal fulfillment. Conversely, three percent feel very unhappy, with potential struggles related to financial stress or resource barriers, while 11 percent are somewhat unhappy and 19 percent feel neutral — indicating ongoing challenges or uncertainty in their entrepreneurial journey.
  • Generation X leads with 55 percent, indicating their prime entrepreneurship stage due to experience and resources, followed by Baby Boomers at 25 percent and Millennials at 20 percent, showing a growing interest. Over time, Millennials have increased by five percent, Gen X by nine percent, while Baby Boomers have decreased by 18 percent, reflecting shifts toward retirement and the changing economic and technological landscape.
  • Entrepreneurship within communities of color shows notable diversity in gender and race: 68 percent of entrepreneurs are male, highlighting a gender disparity where men outnumber women more than two to one. Racially, “Black or African American” business owners form the largest group at 36 percent, followed by “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish-origin” at 31 percent, “Asian or Asian-American” at 21 percent, with smaller shares including “Middle Eastern or North African” (6%), “Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander” (4%), and “Indigenous American” (2%), reflecting a rich tapestry of entrepreneurial backgrounds.
  • Notably, high levels of education are prevalent, with 40 percent holding bachelor’s degrees and 34 percent with master’s degrees, underscoring the importance of formal education among these entrepreneurs. Additionally, 12 percent have associate’s degrees, nine percent hold high school diplomas, and six percent possess doctorates, reflecting a wide spectrum of educational backgrounds that contribute to business innovation and success.

Top Industries and Business Types

  • The study categorizes the business ventures of entrepreneurs of color into four types: 34 percent started new independent businesses, 21 percent run existing ones, 33 percent opened new franchise locations, and 13 percent acquired existing franchises, highlighting their diverse approaches to achieving success in today’s economy.
  • Amidst challenges like inflation and high interest rates, profitability is hard-won, with only 56 percent of businesses operational for over two years achieving it, reflecting a broader struggle as consumer spending lags.
  • Entrepreneurs of color are optimistic about the future, with plans including increasing staff (26%), enhancing digital marketing efforts (18%), and expanding or remodeling their businesses (17%). Investments also target accounting, tax services, and technology to support scaling and operational efficiency.

Challenges for Entrepreneurs of Color

  • Key hurdles include lack of capital or cash flow (23%), inflation and price increases (21%), difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff (19%), challenges with marketing and advertising (12%), administrative work and time management (10% and 6% respectively), and issues with supply chain and managing benefits (5% each), reflecting the diverse and significant operational complexities they face in establishing and sustaining their businesses.
  • Thirty-four percent of entrepreneurs find hiring difficult (11% very difficult, 23% somewhat difficult), though there’s a nine percent improvement from the previous year. Thirty-one percent see no change in hiring difficulty, while 15 percent find it easier (10% somewhat easy, 5% very easy). To improve recruitment, 27 percent of entrepreneurs have increased compensation to attract more candidates and enhance competitiveness in the labor market.
  • Entrepreneurs of color focus on retention by improving engagement practices for 17 percent of businesses, expanding recruitment advertising for 11 percent, and increasing benefits for nine percent. Additional strategies include partnering with educational institutions (8%), expanding training programs (7%), and offering hiring bonuses (6%). Four percent adopt remote work options and promote internal employees to fill challenging positions, showcasing proactive measures to attract and retain talent in a competitive market.

Entrepreneurs of Color Election Year Insights

  • Thirty-one percent identify as Democrats — experiencing a 38 percent decrease from the previous year — while 29 percent align with Republicans, indicating strong support for conservative economic policies. A majority (37%) are unaffiliated, preferring non-partisan approaches to business, and three percent associate with the Libertarian party, advocating for minimal government interference. This diversity illustrates a complex relationship between business operations, personal values, and broader political ideologies, signaling a shift toward greater political independence.
  • Thirty-nine percent of entrepreneurs show reservations about the political landscape, with 13 percent very unconfident and 26 percent somewhat unconfident, likely due to concerns over political stability and business-impacting policies. Conversely, 31 percent are more positive, with 24 percent somewhat confident and seven percent very confident, possibly influenced by favorable policies and advocacy. Thirty percent remain neutral on the political environment’s impact on their business operations.
  • When asked who they’d vote for in December, Joe Biden led with 35 percent support among entrepreneurs of color, closely followed by Donald Trump at 33 percent. Nikki Haley captured 12 percent of the vote, Ron DeSantis 11 percent, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 10 percent, indicating a diverse range of political preferences within the entrepreneurial community, reflecting varying values and policy priorities.

New Horizons: The Pioneering Spirit of Entrepreneurs of Color

In closing, the pioneering spirit of entrepreneurs of color stands as a beacon of innovation and resilience. These business leaders are not only navigating the complexities of the market but are also carving out new pathways for future generations. Their journey is marked by a blend of courage, creativity, and a commitment to transforming challenges into opportunities.

The annual survey by Guidant offers enlightening insights into the complex relationship between political dynamics, economic conditions, and the entrepreneurial endeavors of business owners of color. This year’s results are particularly telling, showcasing how election-year politics significantly affect business decisions and outlooks. Despite encountering distinct challenges that vary by demographic and industry, entrepreneurs of color demonstrate remarkable resilience — the majority being profitable this year.

The stories and successes of these entrepreneurs highlight a vibrant future, one that promises continued growth.

Check out the full 2024 Small Business Trends Entrepreneurs of Color report here for a closer look at these insights.

Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation to get started — or pre-qualify in minutes for business financing now!

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