Small business owners — The good news and the not-so good news

Business owners finding it harder to run their businesses

According to a recent survey carried out by Constant Contact, Inc. 59% of small business owners find it harder to run their business compared to five years ago.

But wait — there is good news. The survey also found that 72% small business owners said they are expecting an increase in revenue in 2017 compared with last year.

Important to note (though hardly surprising) is those small business owners experiencing fewer difficulties are using more online marketing tools.
Take a look at Web Design Auckland to see how we can get your online marketing working.

So, what are the main difficulties small businesses are finding?

Of the 59% small business owners who have found it more difficult:

  • 55% said the economy has hit their business hard
  • 49% said it’s harder to keep up with technology
  • 40% said there’s more direct competition

Only 12% of small business owners surveyed found it’s easier to run a business today compared with five years ago.

Of all the small business owners surveyed, the three common challenges they have found over the last five years are;

  • 84% said using, or using more, online marketing tools
  • 59% said general economic uncertainty
  • 27% said using, or using more, automated business solutions (payroll, inventory, etc.)

What are the trends in marketing tools for small businesses?

  • 98% use email marketing today, compared to 64% five years ago
  • 87% use social media marketing compared to 10% five years ago
  • 40% ranked word-of-mouth as their most powerful marketing tool today, compared to 32% five years ago

The top concerns of small business owners are;

  • 75% said their main concern is finding new customers, compared to 78% five years ago
  • 65% said having enough time to do everything needed to run their business, compared to 61% five years ago
  • 58% said retaining existing customers, compared to 49% five years ago

How customer behaviour has changed over the last five years;

  • 51% said being locally owned and operated is a major reason why customers support their business today, up from the 42% five years ago
  • 55% said the volume of customers has increased
  • 49% customers spend more money at their business
  • 63% said customers have higher expectations
  • 71% said customers expect more value, and 52% said they want more discounts, making it harder to turn a profit
  • 30% of small business owners said it was easier to find more customers than it was five years ago, while 35% said it was harder
  • 53% of small business owners who think it is easier to find more customers say this is due to an increase in affordable online marketing tools.
  • 49% of small business owners who think it’s harder to find new clients say customers are paying less attention to marketing

What are the future expectations?

54% said they haven’t achieved the growth they hoped for five years ago.

58% said they see their business thriving, with more customers and/or more employees.

26% said they see their business holding steady

8% said they see their business possibly closed

72% expect 2017 revenue to outperform 2016 revenues.

So there it is. The good, the bad, and the ugly for small business owners. Businesses are seeing an increased benefit in online marketing. Especially email marketing and social media. Word-of-mouth is creating business. People seeing your brand on online marketing campaigns will talk about it to their buddies at Barbies and the work-do.

Work is increasing and business owners are expecting to see an increase in profits this year. But customers are getting choosy. They have higher expectations, wanting more quality for fewer bucks. Those using online marketing are being more successful than their counterparts, so it’s now more important than ever to make sure your small business has a marketing plan using the correct marketing tools to increase revenue and keep you thriving in 2017 and beyond.