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KeyBank has launched the Small Business Wellness Index, which measures the drivers, challenges, payment trends and financing needs of small business owners across the country. Data is drawn from KeyBank’s proprietary Small Business Wellness Review, a first-of-its-kind program driven by artificial intelligence, which guides small business owners through a comprehensive conversation about their business to identify their needs and offers industry-specific guidance and customized cash flow recommendations.

“Not only does the AI-driven program supply business owners with the industry intel they need to stay competitive, it also helps us better understand our clients and offer personalized expertise,” said Kip Clarke, head of KeyBank’s Business Banking.

Since launching the Small Business Wellness Review in 2018, KeyBank has taken the pulse of more than 38,000 American small business owners across the bank’s 15-state footprint. The data provides a real-time perspective on small business sentiment and behaviors in the United States.

“With this significant critical mass of data, we have the unique opportunity to spot macro trends among small business owners that will offer meaningful insights and inform a more holistic banking experience in today’s digital-first world,” continued Clarke.

Top Findings from KeyBank’s Small Business Wellness® Index

The first Small Business Wellness Index from KeyBank, to be released on a quarterly basis, analyzed responses from more than 38,000 small business owners and found that cash flow is the top challenge for small businesses in Q1 2019, but business owners remain passionate and resilient. Top findings include:

  • An entrepreneurial spirit drove most owners to start their own small business, with respondents saying they wanted to be their own boss (21 percent), were motivated by passion for their business (20 percent) or by their entrepreneurial spirit (16 percent).
  • Money concerns rise to the top of small business challenges—with cash flow (43 percent), operating costs (24 percent) and financial control (14 percent) remaining the biggest challenge for small businesses owners across all markets and company ages in Q1 2019, aligning with business owner responses in Q3-Q4 2018.
  • More than half (51 percent) of small businesses say they have financing needs to keep their businesses operating,including increasing working capital (16 percent), purchasing equipment, vehicles or inventory (13 percent), as well as expanding products, services or locations (12 percent).



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