The Savvy Shopkeeper community recently participated in our annual survey. I asked shopkeepers about their business models, their revenue numbers, the support they’re looking for, and their feedback on all things Savvy Shopkeeper. I learned so much from the survey results, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you.

Business Models

73% of respondents are brick-and-mortar store owners. 36% are makers! There’s some crossover between the two groups, too—some makers are also brick-and-mortar store owners. 

Online Presence

81% of our community has a website. My guess is that the pandemic drove this number up, as I know some shopkeepers in our community focused on increasing their online presence last year.

I’ve shared before that online shopping grew in 3 months of 2020 as much as it had in the previous ten years. I was glad to see that 66% of you have an online storefront so that you can benefit from this growth!

Only 10% of our survey respondents didn’t have any online presence at all. If you’re in the 10%, I’d still encourage you to have something representing your shop on the web, even if it’s just a single landing page. That still counts as a website! 

Years in Business

Our community has some seasoned business owners! 46% of you have been in business for 2 to 5 years. 24% have owned their businesses for 5 to 10 years, and 22% have been shopkeepers for 10+ years. The other 8% are new shopkeepers with less than two years in business.

This shows that we can ALL continue to learn, no matter how much experience we have. 


97% of shopkeepers in our community are in the United States, which isn’t surprising. 2% are in Canada, and 1% are in Europe. All are welcome here!

Annual Revenue

Most shopkeepers never really know if our annual revenue is comparable to other shopkeepers in our industry. I wanted to get at least an indication of how our community is split with this question.

Still, I kept this question general as I know how protective we can be of our numbers. 69% make less than 250K in revenue per year, while 31% make more than 250K in revenue. 

In both the Shopkeepers Lab and Master Shopkeepers, we get a bit more insight into revenue numbers through group conversations. Group members share a bit more freely in these safe spaces.

Feelings About Revenue

50% of shopkeepers said they were not happy with their revenue numbers. Another 36% said they’re getting there, and 14% said they are happy. 

This just confirmed for me that the work I’m doing and the content I create are essential. Revenue is one area in which I sincerely believe I can make a difference for shopkeepers and help them hit their goals.

Pay and Profit

Depending on your business structure, I suppose pay and profit can be the same. Considering the length of time many survey participants have been in business, it would be nice if these percentages were higher.

48% of respondents do pay themselves. 39% are profitable, and 47% are getting there. 

Based on the “getting there” percentage, you’re making progress, and that’s great! 

Hours Worked

For this question, I asked, “do you work too many hours?”

The responses were split evenly between “yes” and “no,” with 50% in each option. 

I also had a few “other” responses that made me chuckle, like, “Maybe my family should answer this” or “I’m getting there 😂.”

What Support You Need

I gave ten or so options for areas of support in this question. The top five were:

  • Strategy/Growth: 80%
  • Marketing: 64%
  • Finances: 54%
  • Time Management: 50%
  • Technology: 43%

With most of our shopkeepers in business for over two years, it makes sense that strategy and growth is the key area where we need support. This response inspired me to record episode 68, which was all about why growth matters. 

What You’re Looking for from Savvy Shopkeeper

I want to make sure that I’m offering the programs, events, and products to truly serve you in your shopkeeping journey. Here were the results: 

  • In-Person Retreat: 66%
  • Coaching Program: 47%
  • Planner: 39%
  • Virtual Summit: 38%

I knew the in-person retreat would be the winner. I also asked when you would be comfortable attending, and many of you said this Fall. I understand the comfort level for traveling, and attending an in-person event this year will be different for everyone. I respect that.

If you are interested in a Savvy Shopkeeper retreat, but you aren’t on my email list, I recommend getting on it! I’ll be sharing more details about our retreat very soon with the email list first. 

What did surprise me a little was the coaching program. I mentioned a new coaching program in several recent episodes, but I found that most shopkeepers—although REALLY interested—just aren’t quite ready for this type of program. So I decided to hold off on this program for a bit.  

If NOT having your business data ready held you back from applying, I’ll share some podcast episodes on how you can help yourself get the information you NEED to understand what’s happening in your business.  

That means getting your bookkeeping caught up or in order and getting a complete inventory management system in place. I’ve covered WHY these two things are essential, but now I can tell you need the nudge to start tackling this. I highly recommend using 2021 to get these two things squared away!

Comments from the Survey

“It is helping me get focused on the numbers and the ‘business side’ of my business. As a creative who has been successful at building my business and helping other creatives by providing a platform for theirs, I am currently trying to understand how to best manage my success without working all the time. Savvy Shopkeeper is helping me realize how to prioritize and organize so that I can spend less time in my business and more time working on my business.” S.J., Shopkeepers Lab Member

“When I have a question or feel overwhelmed this is the first place I turn to.” -J.T., Master Shopkeepers Member

“The first time I heard the Savvy Shopkeeper Podcast…I realized that I was not looking at my business correctly.  I began my business as a creative outlet to overcome a tragic loss.  But I never had a business class or degree…I never had looked at my business as a ‘true business.’ The podcasts were like mini business classes.

Then I joined Masterclass…and WHOA! I entered a whole new dimension of learning and sharing.  Almost 30 years of having my business…and my eyes were opened. One of the most impactful statements Kathy said has been ‘It is okay to work in your business…but you also have to work ON your business.’

I am understanding my numbers better.  How to become profitable. I have support. The podcast and the Masterclass have given new life to my business plus given me hope.” -J.W., Master Shopkeepers Member

“I honestly have no idea how I could run my business without this coaching & the community that goes with it.” -K.J., Master Shopkeepers Member

“I started with you with your podcast. Lucky me, I got in at number 1.  You have always explained why, where, when, and what in simple terms for an older shopkeeper. You gave the teachings that valued all business. Whether highly successful or struggling small town business, you never devalued any size business. I use to belong to another group, and I always felt like I was out of my league. I feel that’s why it took a while to join master shopkeepers.   Joining has been a great addition to my business and for me personally.” -K.N., Master Shopkeepers Member

“I use a number of the forms, templates AND formulas you have created. They have helped me focus on metrics, know which metrics to pay attention to, how to calculate. As a newer business owner that information has been so helpful and eye opening.” -M.H., Shopkeepers Lab Member

“Savvy Shopkeeper, especially Master Shopkeepers, is a lifesaver! The family I’ve gained and the resources available are invaluable! I don’t spend money frivolously and this group is worth it, a must have!” S., Master Shopkeepers Member

“Tons of help with financial strategies thru coaching! Thank you! I bumped up my prices by $1-2 and it is helping me feel better about margins!” -S.M., 1:1 coaching client

“Being in this group has helped my business tremendously! One of the biggest time savers and ‘confusion cutters’ has been implementing systems and processes. I’m not reinventing the wheel or getting stuck…. I have a system and process for it!  I also find my binder comforting. ;)” -F.R., Master Shopkeepers Member

“Honestly, I didn’t pay myself for close to 15 years (crazy right?) After listening to one of your podcast [episodes] I started paying myself. Not much but a start, I’m considering a raise after my taxes are completed this year!” -S.P., podcast listener

“I’ve actually quit being in other groups (paint, maker tool groups)…just so I could be in this one more as it will help me as a business profit more.”  -T.B., Master Shopkeepers Member

Another really impactful piece of feedback was this one:

“I have listened to every one of your podcasts and have shared with many other small businesses. When you released the short ones while we were shut down I can’t tell you how much they saved me. I would come to my closed dark shop and assemble face shields while listening to everyone. It helped to make me feel not so alone in all of the unknown. You helped push me into the uncomfortable world of live sales which in itself saved my business.” -T., podcast listener

Thank You for Participating in the 2021 Savvy Shopkeeper Survey

After reading all of the feedback from the survey, I realized I have been underestimating the impact of what I do and the power of this podcast. I don’t want to underestimate the power of this podcast and my work ever again. 

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey. And even more importantly, thank you for your time and your incredible words.



  • [03:35] Business Models 
  • [04:52] Online Presence
  • [06:26] Years in Business
  • [09:26] Location
  • [10:53] Annual Revenue
  • [12:41] Feelings About Revenue
  • [13:35] Pay and Profit
  • [15:18] Hours Worked
  • [16:23] What Support You Need
  • [17:26] What You’re Looking for from Savvy Shopkeeper
  • [23:25] Comments from the Survey
  • [33:40] Thank You for Participating in the 2021 Savvy Shopkeeper Survey

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