Commercial Business

Navigating the Ever-Changing Small Business Landscape

Navigating the Ever-Changing Small Business Landscape

April 11, 2024 | David Adams

When it comes to the small business landscape the one thing we generally all agree on is this is a time of great change: 

  • new business start-ups,

  •  gig economy,

  •  remote working,

  •  regulatory landscape,

  •  small business fraud. 

For lenders and services providers this new landscape could be a source of concern and risk, but if handled in the right way, it could also be a source of opportunity.  

Join us as we explore the opportunities and risks in the new small business landscape. 

Opportunity and Risk


Responding to Small Businesses

Over the past several years we’ve seen significant growth in the number of small business applications, and there are no signs of that slowing down.  At the same time, these small businesses are competing for capital and services, which has caused lenders and service providers to spend more time trying to pick ‘winners and losers.’ Combined with increased inflation, the financial pressures on small businesses are growing.  

Delinquency rates are now in line with pre-pandemic levels and slowly rising, while defaults are rising even more quickly with rates 17% above January 2020 levels. What’s more, consumer debt levels could spark a spending pullback later this year, representing a key factor to watch for Main Street business owners. 

These market dynamics have caused many lenders and service providers to evaluate their risk and determine who is a safe bet.  At Equifax, we’re working with customers to take a slightly different approach, as we look for ways to say yes to more, without increasing their inherent risk.  With the use of NeuroDecisioning technology, we’re finding ways to help predict delinquencies through multiple data sources, in an effort to enable 3-4 million more small businesses the ability to gain access to credit and services.

Confidence in the Economy Builds

Still, while there are emergent pressures on small businesses, overall economic conditions remain positive. Even after a period of elevated inflation, rising interest rates, and recession worries, measures of consumer and business confidence are improving. 

In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continues to report “sunny” outlooks in their small business forecast, finding that general positive sentiment outweighs negative sentiment among business owners for the first time in two years. 

To stay ahead of the trends, Equifax leverages our Small Business Indices to track changes in the small business marketplace by providing insights into lending, default, and delinquency trends. 


One of the largest risks small business lenders face is fraud. Whether from cyberattack or identity theft, keeping fraud at bay is no easy task. 

“With the number of new applications increasing more than 45% annually compared to pre-COVID times, it has become more and more difficult for businesses and lenders to know who they are doing business with,” said Sal Hazday, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Equifax U.S. Information Solutions Commercial Business. “This rapid growth accelerates the need for both lenders and business service providers to have access to more information before they onboard new accounts or vendors — specifically around identifying potential risks like fraud.” 

When it comes to forming a business relationship, the first line of defense is simply taking a minute to know a little more about the business and the business owners / principals (KYB). We’re seeing a lot of this with our customers, with many taking the time to confirm the legitimacy of a business and the business owners. With Equifax's Business Verification Solution you can do this early on in the origination process which will help businesses mitigate risk, as well as identify additional opportunities with the right customers.


The goal is to pinpoint customers who can afford your products and services as well as to leverage financial capacity insights to find customers most likely to spend, invest, or borrow responsibly. 

Make sure you stay connected with our Market Pulse webinar where we discuss topics like the small business landscape and much more. Sign up for the webinar, access supporting resources, and ask questions in real time here.

Equifax gives you the confidence you need to grow amid economic uncertainty. Contact us to see how we can help move your business forward.

David Adams

David Adams

Head of Commercial Product Marketing

A seasoned technology expert, David Adams has spent his career specializing in SaaS based technology and high growth markets. With Equifax, as the Head of Commercial Product Marketing, David is responsible for the Go-To-Market strategy for the entirety of the commercial portfolio, from marketing, to acquisition to man[...]