San Francisco, CA, March 3, 2021 — Rocket Lawyer, the affordable and complete legal services platform, has released survey data in partnership with Staples Connect revealing that in 2020 entrepreneurs had more time and flexibility to start more new businesses than ever before. Just as the US Census Bureau reported that new business applications hit a peak in Q3 2020 with nearly 1.6M new business applications filed, Rocket Lawyer also saw a strong double-digit increase in demand for new business support and incorporation filings. Despite stagnant or declining revenue growth for many existing companies, the uptick in new businesses and feedback from survey respondents reflects a confident yet cautious optimism on behalf of entrepreneurs and small business operators across the nation.
More Time and Flexibility for Entrepreneurship
With a combination of factors at play, many business owners reported having more time and/or flexibility to work on their new ventures due to job loss or reduced hours (46%) or due to a shift to remote work in their full-time role (34%). While more than a quarter of respondents identified an opportunity to meet new or growing demand for a product/service (28%), the majority started or expanded their businesses to supplement existing income or protect against uncertainty (54%).
More than half of those surveyed decided to pursue their business endeavors solo—52 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do not plan to make any new hires in 2021 and 78 percent plan to continue to operate their business from home. The survey focused on 775 small business owners and operators in the United States.
SMBs Confident Yet Cautious About 2021
Last year, more than half of SMBs (57%) felt that the government was not doing enough to help them during the pandemic. But, with the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines (45%) and a new administration (43%), SMBs feel optimistic that their businesses will succeed. With a multitude of productivity tools available to help them start and run their new ventures remotely, owners and operators are getting up and running with ease—40 percent reported using website building services, 21 percent used e-commerce or payments services, and 13 percent used file sharing or collaboration tools. That said, 40 percent of SMBs wish they had access to accounting services and 35 percent indicated a desire for more legal support while starting up.
Legal Concerns Pegged by the Pandemic
Despite the relative ease of starting up, the survey also revealed a major gap in protection for new SMBs—90 percent of new SMBs have not applied for a trademark to protect their brand; 88 percent have not had any contracts reviewed by an attorney; and 71 percent have not purchased business insurance. New business owners also reported challenges in securing funding (49%), difficulty meeting in person with legal, financial, or other business advisors (35%), and issues with suppliers or shipping (26%).
“There are many actions that new small business owners will need to take involving their customers, business operations, employees, finances, families and government compliance—all of which come with legal implications that have to be considered,” said Charley Moore, founder and CEO of Rocket Lawyer. “Businesses will continually need to adapt to survive. It’s critical to make business decisions with the proper legal counsel to avoid costly or long-lasting mistakes.”
To avoid pitfalls, many new business owners rely on Rocket Lawyer to ensure legal compliance. “I’m running two small businesses. I’m a wife. I’m a mom. I’m busy,” said Tahera Christy, who used Rocket Lawyer to start an online wellness brand in March 2020. With help from Rocket Lawyer attorneys, Christy can focus on growing her business confidently. “I know I have an arsenal of people behind me to make sure I’ve done everything correctly.”
“For solo entrepreneurs, operating remotely can make it challenging to feel part of the larger business community,” said Alissa Dias, Director of Content & Strategy at Staples. “That’s why Staples Connect has partnered with companies like Rocket Lawyer to empower small business owners with legal information and helpful resources at StaplesConnect.com/small-business.”
Rocket Lawyer provides small business owners with the legal help they need to Work Confidently®. From personalized legal documents and expert attorney advice to RocketSign digital signatures, trademark registration, and incorporation services, Rocket Lawyer is there every step of the way.
About Rocket Lawyer:
At Rocket Lawyer, we believe everyone deserves affordable and simple legal services. Our laws should protect and empower—but for too many of us, the law is a burden, because of high costs and complexity. So, we’re changing things. Since 2008, we’ve helped over 20 million businesses, families, and individuals obtain the legal help they need, at a price they can afford. That’s legal made simple.® Visit www.rocketlawyer.com for a free trial and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Rocket Lawyer and Staples Connect surveyed 775 U.S. adults who own or run a small or medium-sized business.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.