Every month in Small Business Scene, we’ll be putting together a quick round-up of news, trends, and insight from the world of small business.
This month, we took a look at recent reports on the state of small business and saw some emerging trends.
Why are trends important? As we looked through recent reports, surveys, and findings, we asked ourselves, “Why do trends matter to small business owners?”
Keeping an eye on trends can do two things:
- Remind you that many small businesses experience the same challenges and struggles
- Help you identify what’s next for your business
Trends can give direction on where to focus your energy, invest your resources, or expand your business. Here are three things happening in the small business scene right now:
Trend #1: Finding and keeping the right employees remains a top priority for small businesses while finding the right person for the job can be challenging.
- 50% of small businesses plan on hiring employees (up 15% from 2015) while 50% of small businesses see hiring new employees as their biggest challenge [1. 2016 State of Small Business Report from Wasp Barcode Technologies]
- 52% of small businesses reported hiring or trying to hire in January and 45% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill [2. National Federation of Independent Business January 2016 Report]
- 42% of small businesses report employee retention and satisfaction as extremely important [3. Valar Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist for Salesforce, 2016 Research: 6 Benchmarks for Small Business Growth, Huffington Post]
Trend #2: In 2016, small business owners expect revenue growth even if pessimistic about the economy.
- 71% of small businesses expect an increase in revenue in 2016 [4. 2016 State of Small Business Report]
- 85% of small businesses active on Yelp expect their revenue to grow in 2016 [5. Yelp Small Business Survey]
- The Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.3 points in January [6. NFIB]
Trend #3: Focusing on customer experience will help fuel this growth.
- 43% of small businesses say improving existing customer experience and retention is their top strategy for revenue growth in 2016 [7. 2016 State of Small Business Report]
- 60% of small businesses view attracting and retaining customers as a top priority [8. Yelp Small Business Survey]
- High-performing small businesses invest in connecting with customers using mobile, data, and marketing automation, and are early adopters of technology [9. 2016 Research: 6 Benchmarks for Small Business Growth, Huffington Post]
Bottom line: Growing and building teams remains a key focus for many small businesses. Small businesses anticipate revenue growth this year, and are looking to improve customer experience and retention to do so.
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