In honor of National Small Business Week, we scoured the Internet to find facts and tips about U.S. small business that will inspire you to grow and keep going.
The Current State Of Small Business
- Approximately 70 percent of all U.S. small businesses are owned and operated by a single individual.
- Twenty-two million of the nation’s 28 million small businesses employ only one person.
- Fifty percent of established small businesses plan to hire in 2016, an 82 percent increase from 2015. That doesn’t account for any start-up companies in the coming year!
- Businesses close their doors for a number of reasons, but don’t lose hope. The long-term survival rate sits 80 percent higher than in 1977 – that’s nearly 40 years of longer-lasting operations.
- 2016 marks the fourth consecutive year of improved net profits for businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue; current trends indicate 2017 may be the fifth.
- Small business owners feel the future looks bright: More than half see tomorrow as a chance for greater growth and better financial security. Three-quarters see better business prospects ahead.
Things To Consider About Starting A Small Business
- In need of affordable child care? Still want to be your own boss? Can’t stand to commute? Small business could very well work for you: More than half of all small businesses are home-based.
- Certain industries are more successful for small businesses; they include e-shopping and mail order, software publishers,computer services, and service specialists for buildings/residences.
- Owners often ignore the fatigue that comes along with a new venture. Long hours and pressure take their toll and can lead to poor decisions or even total burnout.
Marketing Your Small Business Is Easier Than You Think It Is
- Many small businesses lack in-house marketing departments and work with freelancers or firms instead.
- More than half of small businesses use social media marketing and find it effective, especially as a means for two-way communication with consumers.
- Fifty-two percent of small businesses made new connections through Facebook. The added cost to create a business page? Nothing.
- Here are two easy marketing tie-ins you can use:
- Small Business Saturday is the fourth Saturday in November – right after Black Friday.
- National Small Business Week is the first week of May.
There Are Plenty Funding Options Out There
- Worried you might not get that business loan? You can relax a little: 90 percent of those who applied between 2013 and 2015 got approved.
- Big bank loan approval rose 1.3 percent from February 2015 to February 2016. Institutional lenders rose a full 2 percent in the same time frame.
- Some businesses can’t meet the requirements for such a loan or pose too high a risk for traditional lenders, but they might qualify for a loan from microlenders; they normally look for relatively good credit and a demonstrable ability to repay.
- The Small Business Association defines a microloan as one of $50,000 or less, a sum often seen by traditional banks for business loans as too low to be profitable.
- Crowd-funding options let you raise funds as you promote and position your brand while you engage your target audience.
- Venture capital investments broke $59 billion for 2015 and helped more than 1,400 companies – mostly new and early stage – raise funds for the first time.
- Alternative lending sources continue to gain popularity because of quick approval times and almost guaranteed approval, but they often charge very high interest rates.
The Online And Mobile World Is Calling
- More than half of all small business websites lack pertinent information such as a contact number, email address, or even physical address.
- Mobile commerce will only continue to grow. A mobile-friendly website with payment capabilities keeps you closer to almost 60 percent of consumers.
- Watch for emotional analytics to gain ground in 2016 and provide deeper insight into consumer behavior. Even Facebook is on the action with its new response options.
- An increased online presence means increased online risks, so make sure you’ve got good online security features and protect your customers’ data.
Build Relationships With Customers And Small Business Peers
- Two-thirds owners have attended at least one trade convention. These events are great places to network and check out the competition.
- Sixty-eight percent of businesses belong to at least one industry or professional group. Many of these associations offer owners networking, training opportunities, discounts on services, and more.
- Want to improve your customer service? Quickly and honestly respond to their emails, phone calls and social media posts.
- Learn more about your customers’ experience. Solicit their feedback through anonymous surveys, check out what they have to say on review sites, or have someone act as a “secret shopper” to assess customer service.
- Your business community is most likely your home community as well. Show your appreciation for its confidence and patronage by giving back to community causes- donate to local charities, get involved with government, or volunteer your service.
Special thanks to Craig Spence for his help with research.
This article was written by Brian Sutter from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.