As the U.S.-China trade war drags on, American businesses are taking a financial hit. Not even startups are being spared.

That's according to online business marketplace BizBuySell, which on Friday released its 2019 Small Business Confidence Survey focused on the Trump administration's international tariff policies. The tariffs have increased the cost of doing business for more than one third--37 percent--of small businesses across the U.S., according to the survey. A majority of those companies say they've increased prices for customers as a result and, in 46 percent of those cases, lost sales because of it.

Entrepreneurial support for the policies appears evenly split: 36 percent of respondents approved of the Trump administration's actions, 34 percent disapproved, and the remainder said they were "unsure." Those figures are tighter than President Trump's national approval ratings: 41 percent approval and 54 percent disapproval, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The trade war has caused many small business owners to face tough decisions since it began in January of 2018. Last year, Todd Meeks of Tucson, Arizona-based body armor company Spartan Armor Systems told Inc. that one round of tariffs forced him to raise his prices by 10 percent almost overnight. Such hardships could affect any company's growth, and Spartan Armor Systems is certainly at risk: The company ranked No. 522 on this year's Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America.

Others are paralyzed by a bevy of poor options. Preemptive inventory stockpiling can be tricky, thanks to the unpredictable nature of the tariff announcements. Those who take out loans are concerned that the interest will catch up with them before the trade war ends. One founder, Ryan Zagata of Brooklyn Bicycle Co., told Inc. last November that every available strategy would incur significant cost to his company or customers.

When asked what he would do, Zagata said he didn't know. "I'll watch my competitors," he said.

Published on: Sep 6, 2019