Health of small business in Abilene

Mar 2023
Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

It’s hard to believe that we’re already nearing the end of the first quarter of 2023.

As we close Q1 and look forward to Q2, we want to take a look at what we’re hearing as our region’s chief business advocacy organization.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index with MetLife, while small businesses’ overall outlook on the economy could be perceived as negative, business owners remain strong and optimistic for their own sales, reporting higher sales and an expectation for sales to continue rising. In fact, 45 percent of small businesses reported operations at a profit margin which is up 10 points since 2021.

Inflation remains a concern, but entrepreneurs continue to be encouraged and optimistic as supply chain challenges continue to ease. Available workforce remains a top concern for communities all across America, and the Chamber is focused, along with many of our partners, on helping to ease the challenges faced by all sectors as our economy continues to experience explosive growth.

Abilenians and entrepreneurs solve problems, and when we experience challenges, we answer with Texas sized solutions such as 52.3 percent more business applications filed in 2022 than in 2019.

Many individuals laid off as a result of pandemic shutdowns turned their ideas and hobbies into a  business. The number of non-store retailers skyrocketed as individuals sold goods from home.

Professional and business services were not far behind, as entrepreneurs tapped into the need for personal consulting services. This trend held true in 2022 with the most business applications being filed for enterprises in the retail trade and professional services sectors.

The same can be shown here locally as well with 2022 showing a 67 percent growth in business filings from 2017.

Abilene and our entire nation were built by entrepreneurs and driven by free enterprise. Small businesses should have the freedom to hire, innovate, grow, and strengthen their local economies and communities.

That’s why at the Chamber we not only actively work with our elected officials at every level to help foster an environment where business owners have the least regulatory burden possible, but we help to foster a small business environment where the dreamers and doers have a support system for their business journey.

We are fortunate to live in a can-do, pro-growth and pro-business area, where we encourage and support our friends and neighbors in business.

Take a look at the upcoming opportunities for you to engage with our growing association of business through connections and education:

  • March 29 – Make more than 200 + business connections all in one place at the upcoming Business Expo sponsored by Lawrence Hall Abilene, Pest Patrol and My Emergency Room 24/7 + Urgent Care.

  • May 2 – Nominations are now open for this year’s Small Business Awards that will be announced during our annual Small Business Luncheon. Pay tribute to those businesses who are the backbone of our economy, helping to create jobs and opportunity for area residents.

  • May 18 – We’re proud to be a host of the Governor’s Small Business Summit. The cost is nominal and more information on location, ticket pricing, etc. can be found at


SOURCES: Data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Business Formation Statistics. Analysis by U.S. Chamber of Commerce. MetLife & U.S. Chamber Small Business Index.