Small businesses are hopeful about growth this year according to the new State of Small Business Report by software solutions provider, Wasp Barcode Technologies.
The study says 71 percent of small businesses expect revenue growth, although 50 percent of small business owners said hiring new employees would be the key challenge facing them this year. And 45 percent said that challenge would be increasing profit.
An earlier survey conducted by Yelp had similarly found small business owners optimistic about growth in 2016. According to that survey, the percentage of American small business owners expecting to see revenues grow, however, is higher (85 percent).
Key Findings of the State of Small Business Report
More than 1,100 American small businesses were surveyed for the study, and some of the key findings include the following:
- Forth-three percent of small business owners say improving existing customer experience and retention (43 percent) is their top strategy for revenue growth.
- Fifty percent of all small business owners plan to hire employees. This is up 12 percent from 2015.
- Sixty two percent small businesses invest 4 percent or more of their revenue in marketing, while about one in 10 does not invest.
- Fifty-six percent of small businesses use a mix of online and traditional marketing tools.
- Fifty-four percent of small business owners list Email and 51 percent listwebsites as the top online marketing tools that small businesses are using today.
- Forty eight percent of small business owners do not track their inventory or use a manual process to track them.
- Fifty five percent of small businesses do not track assets or use a manual process to track them.
The report also reveals some interesting trends in digital marketing concerning the small business community. Here are some key highlights:
- Only 80 percent of small businesses use social media and many underutilize search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, and video.
- Use of Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter has increased. (Not much surprise here!)
- Forty five percent of small businesses use social media to sell to potential customers.
- Facebook remains the most used social media platform, although its use has decreased since 2015.
- Fifty four percent of small businesses outsource graphic design and Web design work.
Businesses Need the Right Strategy to Succeed in 2016
To succeed in 2016, small businesses need a clear strategy and roadmap. For example, the study shows the percentage of small businesses leveraging the potential of social media and SEO still leaves a lot to be desired. Small businesses must, therefore, revisit their social media marketing strategy and identify areas where they can improve and channel the potential of this powerful medium to connect with customers.
Hiring strategy is another area that calls for special attention. With 50 percent of small firms planning to hire new employees, it is important to identify skills that companies can benefit the most from. A great hiring strategy can help small companies attract the right talent and achieve the best value out of their investment.
Image: Wasp Barcode Technologies