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Peek into the Mind of Small Business Leaders

Peek into the Mind of Small Business Leaders As a business owner, I want to know how my business successes and challenges compare to others, both in my field and general business. The 2015 State of Small Business survey, conducted by Wasp Barcode Technologies, gives us a peek into the minds of business owners like you and I.

Here are a few highlights that we reviewed which I thought might be meaningful to you as you consider your current business and anticipated business goals in 2017.

Business Challenges

Top 4 Biggest Challenges (all company sizes combined)

  • Growing revenue
  • Hiring new employees
  • Increasing profit
  • Government regulations

Top 5 Business Challenges of companies by Number of Employees

11 – 5051 - 100101 – 499
Growing revenueGrowing revenueHiring employees
Increasing profitHiring employeesGrowing revenue
Cash flowEmployee healthcareGovernment regulations
Hiring employeesGovernment regulationsEmployee healthcare
Raising capitalIncreasing profitIncreasing profit

No matter what size your business is, there are thee common denominators. . . growing revenue, increasing profit and hiring employees. It should come as no surprise that the bigger you get the more government regulations become a challenge.

As you review the table, consider how these challenges compare to your own business challenges.

  • Are your challenges in line with the other businesses of your size?
  • Does the ranking of challenges reflect your ranking as well? If not, how do your businesses challenges rank with other business of your size?
  • Have you considered brainstorming solutions for your challenges with a business expert or a mentor?

Growth & The Economy

A quick look at how small business leaders expected to grow their business:

The survey cited 57% of all small business leaders expect revenue and sales to increase in 2015, and most of them also listed this as a potential challenge. Here’s a peek of the anticipated revenue growth of companies by number of employees:

Anticipated Increase in Revenue11 – 5051 – 100101 – 499
5 - 10%17%18%22%
1 - 4%24%32%31%
Flat / no change28%28%24%

The concern of most small business leaders comes from the uncertainty in HOW the revenue increase would be generated.

For more than 45% of small businesses, attracting new customers (generating new leads) remains a top reason behind the expanded growth as well as other organic tactics.

  • Narrowly defining your target market is key to successful marketing. Do you have it right?

The top growth driver for companies will be improving the customer experience in 2015.

Marketing Investments

While the national average of percent of revenue spent on marketing activities is 10.2%, nearly 56% of small business leaders surveyed said they would spend less than 3% of revenue on marketing. Companies that sell a product typically invest a greater percentage of revenue than non-product, or service companies. The survey further cited that Facebook is currently the most widely used social media channel.

However, since the site changed their algorithm (altering the content users see in their feeds), organic traffic has been cut in half.

Small business leaders were asked which marketing tools that they use to generate new leads and, no surprise to most of us, social media channels were by far the leader. While you may hear that “print advertising is dead” the survey clearly indicated that direct mail marketing is still being utilized by 37% of the companies surveyed. Want to learn how to send direct mail marketing for free?

Percent of small businesses

As you review this blog, consider your own business . . .

Do you see any correlation between this data and your business? Take a moment to share your thoughts or questions with me below.

WOW — This is a lot of data to consider and I don’t want to overwhelm your brain. We will take a deeper look into marketing investments as well as IT Investments and Tools in next week’s post.

Certified Content Marketing Specialist