How Much Do Business Owners Make: An Insight into Small Business Owner Salaries

Running a business can be an exciting venture, but have you ever wondered how much small business owners earn? This article will go into business owner salaries, specifically focusing on small enterprises.

How Much Do Business Owners Make?

The average business owner has salary can vary greatly depending on factors like industry, location, experience, and cost to start a business. Let’s take a deeper look at the factors that affect a business owner’s income.

Factors Affecting a Business Owner’s Income

A complex interplay of factors shapes the income of a business owner. Here’s a detailed look at some of the major elements that influence earnings:


  • Earning Potential: Different industries have varying profit margins, growth prospects, and barriers to entry.
  • Market Demand: A particular industry’s demand for products or services can significantly impact income.
  • Regulation and Compliance Costs: Some industries have more stringent regulations that might entail higher operational costs.

Geographical Location

  • Cost of Living: Higher cost of living in a location might mean higher operating expenses but could also allow for higher pricing.
  • Local Economy: The economic health of a region affects consumer spending and business investment.
  • Competitive Landscape: Some locations may have more or less competition, impacting profitability.

Level of Experience

  • Decision-making Ability: More experienced business owners typically make more informed decisions that lead to higher profits.
  • Networking and Relationships: Established relationships with suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders can enhance income.
  • Industry Knowledge: In-depth understanding of industry trends and dynamics enables better strategic planning.

Educational Background

  • Skills and Expertise: Education in relevant fields can equip a business owner with the necessary skills and insights.
  • Professional Development: Ongoing learning and development opportunities can keep a business owner ahead of industry changes.
  • Access to Networks: Educational institutions often provide networking opportunities that can lead to business growth.

Scale of the Business

  • Economies of Scale: Larger scale operations might benefit from cost efficiencies that smaller businesses can’t achieve.
  • Market Reach: A larger scale often means access to more markets, allowing for diversified revenue streams.
  • Investment in Technology and Innovation: A larger scale might enable investments in technology and innovation that drive profitability.

Additional Factors

  • Quality of Products or Services: The reputation for quality can drive customer loyalty and premium pricing.
  • Marketing and Branding: Effective marketing and strong branding can lead to higher sales and recognition.
  • Management and Team: The skills and commitment of a business’s team can be vital in achieving success.
  • Access to Financing: Availability of capital for growth and investment can be a key factor in business success.

In summary, the income of a business owner is not solely determined by the nature of the business itself but is the result of a multifaceted combination of industry, location, experience, education, scale, and several other influencing factors. To maximize income, a business owner needs to take a holistic approach, constantly assessing and adapting to these various elements, and aligning strategies to meet both short-term objectives and long-term goals.

Average Salary of a Business Owner

how much do business owners make

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a business owner in the US is about $149k per year.

This number is broken down with the national average salary being about $98k per year, with an estimated additional pay of $51k annually.

The additional pay may include cash bonuses, commissions, tips, and profit sharing.

How Much Do Small Business Owners Make?

Shifting the focus to small business owners, their earnings can significantly vary due to various factors.

The Life of a Small Business Owner

how much do business owners make

Being a small business owner is both challenging and rewarding. They have greater autonomy and can shape their business vision, but they also face financial risks and operational burdens. Building a loyal customer base and adapting to market changes is crucial for success.

Small Business Owner Salary: What to Expect

how much do business owners make

According to, the average small business owner has an annual salary of $69,441 in 2023.

Unlike larger business owners, a small business owner’s salary may differ due to their company size and resources.

They also have the potential to earn additional income through bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions, which can further impact their total pay.

Breaking Down Small Business Owner Salaries by Industry

Salaries of small business owners vary based on the industry they operate in. Let’s take a look at the most and least profitable industries for small business owners:

Profitable Industries for Small Business Owners

how much do business owners make

In 2023, the top small business industries include retail at 18%, food and restaurant at 12%, health, beauty, and fitness services at 10%, and construction and contracting at 8%. These industries tend to be more profitable for small business owners.

Less Profitable Industries for Small Business Owners

how much do business owners make

Some industries offer lower earnings for small business owners compared to the overall average. These industries include educational services at -70%, administrative, support, waste management, remediation services at -51%, and arts, entertainment, and recreation at -44%.

Industry CategoryProfit Percentage
Profitable Industries for Small Business Owners
Food and Restaurant12%
Health, Beauty, and Fitness Services10%
Construction and Contracting8%
Less Profitable Industries for Small Business Owners
Educational Services-70%
Administrative, Support, Waste Management, Remediation Services-51%
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation-44%

Tips for Increasing Small Business Owner Salary

Small business owners can potentially increase their income by exploring new revenue streams, improving marketing efforts, and optimizing business operations. Let’s explore strategies for maximizing profits and opportunities for growth and expansion.

Strategies for Maximizing Profits

how much do business owners make

Small business owners can increase profits in numerous ways. Here are a few ideas:

Managing Expenses

  • Track and Analyze Expenditures: Regularly monitoring all expenses can identify areas for cost reduction.
  • Use Budgeting Tools: Implement budgeting software to provide insights into spending and allow for better control over costs.
  • Negotiate with Vendors: By renegotiating contracts or shopping around for better prices, a business can reduce its cost of goods sold.

Renegotiating Supplier Contracts

  • Evaluate Current Agreements: Understanding the terms of current contracts allows for informed negotiations.
  • Compare Suppliers: Regularly compare suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best value.
  • Leverage Bulk Purchasing: Consider buying in bulk or joining a cooperative to get volume discounts.

Optimizing Business Operations

  • Implement Lean Practices: Utilizing lean manufacturing or service delivery can minimize waste and improve efficiency.
  • Utilize Technology: Technology like automation and AI can streamline processes.
  • Invest in Quality Equipment: Using high-quality tools and machinery can increase output and reduce downtime.

Analyzing Sales Data

  • Identify Top Sellers: Focus on products or services that are most profitable or popular.
  • Utilize Data Analytics: Analyzing sales trends and customer behavior can provide insights into potential areas for growth.
  • Implement Targeted Marketing: Use insights from sales data to create targeted advertising campaigns to boost sales of popular items.

Exploring New Markets

  • Research Potential Markets: Understanding customer needs in different demographics or geographical areas can identify new opportunities.
  • Test Different Channels: Experiment with various sales channels such as online platforms, pop-up stores, or different retail partnerships.
  • Collaborate with Local Partners: Working with local partners can ease entry into new markets by leveraging existing networks and knowledge.

Investing in Employee Training

  • Offer Ongoing Training Programs: Regular training can enhance employees’ skills and motivation.
  • Implement Mentoring Programs: Pairing less experienced staff with mentors can increase learning opportunities.
  • Focus on Customer Service Training: Specialized training in customer service can enhance customer satisfaction and lead to repeat business.

Customer Satisfaction

  • Gather Customer Feedback: Regularly solicit feedback to understand customer needs and expectations.
  • Implement a Loyalty Program: Rewarding repeat customers can increase retention.
  • Provide Excellent After-Sales Support: Providing support after the purchase can create a positive experience that encourages repeat business.

By carefully applying these strategies, small business owners can position their businesses for growth and sustainability, ultimately leading to increased profitability. Different strategies may be more or less relevant depending on the specific industry and market conditions, so a tailored approach that takes these factors into consideration will likely yield the best results.

Opportunities for Growth and Expansion

how much do business owners make

Growth and expansion present exciting opportunities for small business owners to elevate their annual income. Here’s an overview of some core areas where small businesses can focus their efforts to grow and expand:

Diversifying Product or Service Offerings

  • Understanding Market Needs: Analyzing current market trends and customer demands can help in developing new products or services that cater to unmet needs.
  • Investing in Research and Development: Developing innovative products or improving existing ones can attract a new customer base.
  • Collaborating with Complementary Businesses: Working with businesses that offer complementary products or services can create unique bundles or offerings that appeal to a broader audience.

Investing in Marketing and Online Presence

  • Implementing Digital Marketing Strategies: Utilizing SEO, social media, and email marketing can significantly increase online visibility.
  • Creating a User-Friendly Website: A well-designed website can enhance the user experience and increase online sales.
  • Participating in Industry Events and Trade Shows: This can increase brand awareness and establish important connections in the industry.

Scaling Operations

  • Strategic Partnerships: Collaborating with other businesses can provide access to new markets, technology, or resources.
  • Franchising Opportunities: Franchising can enable a business to expand quickly by leveraging the capital and effort of franchisees.
  • Investing in Technology and Automation: Implementing new technology can streamline operations and enable the business to handle increased volume efficiently.

Exploring New Markets

  • Global Expansion: Investigating and entering international markets can open up entirely new revenue streams.
  • Understanding Local Regulations and Culture: When entering a new market, understanding local laws, culture, and consumer behavior is crucial.
  • Leveraging Local Partnerships: Working with local businesses can ease market entry and increase acceptance among local consumers.

Focusing on Customer Engagement and Retention

  • Implementing Customer Loyalty Programs: Rewarding repeat customers can increase customer retention and revenue.
  • Providing Exceptional Customer Service: Consistently offering top-notch service can build brand loyalty.
  • Gathering and Acting on Customer Feedback: Regularly engaging with customers to understand their needs and preferences can guide ongoing improvements.

Financing Growth

  • Securing External Funding: Exploring options like loans, venture capital, or crowdfunding can provide the necessary capital for expansion.
  • Reinvesting Profits: Plowing profits back into the business can finance growth without taking on debt.
  • Monitoring Financial Health: Regular financial analysis ensures that growth is sustainable and identifies any potential financial risks.

Growth and expansion require careful planning, execution, and ongoing monitoring to ensure that the business remains financially healthy and aligned with its long-term goals. Utilizing a combination of these strategies can elevate a small business to the next level, increasing annual income, market share, and stability. It’s essential to assess and mitigate the risks associated with growth, as rapid expansion without the proper foundation can lead to challenges down the line.

how much do business owners make

FAQs: How Much Do Business Owners Make

How Much More Do Small Business Owners Make Than Their Employees?

On average, most business owners tend to earn more than their employees due to their business’s success and profit-sharing opportunities. This gap in earnings can vary depending on the industry and company size.

How Much Do First-Year Small Business Owners Typically Make?

During their first year, small business owners’ earnings can be modest as they establish their businesses. Profitability depends on various factors, such as industry, location, and effective financial management. To get more specific, it can help to look into specific types of small businesses. For example, you may research how much do electricians make or how much online businesses typically earn.

How Do Business Owner Salaries Compare Across Different Countries?

Business owner salaries can significantly differ across countries, influenced by economic factors, industry performance, and cost of living. Researching and understanding these variations can help business owners make informed decisions about their ventures.

What Percentage of Small Businesses Turn a Profit in Their First Year?

Around 20 to 30 percent of small businesses turn a profit in their first year. Success largely relies on effective business planning, market research, financial management, and adapting to the competitive landscape.

Can a Small Business Owner’s Salary Increase Over Time?

Yes, a small business owner’s salary can increase over time with the business’s growth and profitability. As revenue and profits rise, business owners have the opportunity to reinvest, expand, and allocate more funds to their compensation.

What is The Average Business Owner’s Salary?

The average business owner’s salary varies based on factors like industry, location, and business size. In the United States, for instance, the average business owner’s salary is around $50,000 to $100,000 per year.

How many businesses make over $1 million?

A small percentage of businesses make over $1 million in revenue. Achieving this milestone often requires a combination of a unique value proposition, effective marketing, efficient operations, and good financial management.

Should I pay myself a salary from my small business?

Yes, paying yourself a salary is essential for personal financial stability and budgeting. Structuring a reasonable salary helps separate personal and business finances, ensures you receive fair compensation, and supports future business growth. However, some business owners choose to go with a small salary at first so they can instead spend on advertising and other factors that contribute to long-term business growth.

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Kevin Ocasio Kevin Ocasio is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 2 years. He holds certifications in SEO, digital marketing, and content marketing. Kevin is also certified in Information Technology Technical Support Fundamentals.