By Rieva Lesonsky
By year end, entrepreneurs are already looking forward to a new year filled with new business opportunities. Depending on what kind of 2013 you had, you’re either hoping to repeat your success or forget the year ever happened and start fresh. So how do the rest of the nation’s small business owners feel right now? According to the Fall 2013 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, business owners are less stressed about working capital, have abandoned their “wait and see” attitude and one-third of them are making growth a top priority. Here are some more highlights from the Small Business Monitor:
– More small business owners are making capital investments (54 percent, up from 49 percent).
– Small business owners plan to hire more (35 percent, up from 29 percent)
– Cash flow is less of a concern (52 percent reported a cash flow crunch, down from 59 percent six months ago).
– More than half (56 percent) have a positive outlook on business prospects and more than four in 10 business owners (43 percent) are confident their revenues will increase. Currently, 38 percent (up from 27 percent) say their revenues are greater than they were a year ago and 16 percent say they have more employees than they did last year.
If your goals for 2014 include improving your social media marketing, you’re not alone:
– 71 percent use social media to attract new customers (up from 57 percent a year ago)
– 59 percent use social media to drive sales (up from 46 percent a year ago)
– 55 percent use social media to create a dialogue with customers (up from 31 percent last year)
– 36 percent use social media to create communities where customers can talk to each other (up from 25 percent last year)
Do you offer incentives? Ask for customer feedback? Get personal?
– 94 percent of respondents offer incentives to customers for repeat business (up from 89 percent last year)
– 94 percent use customer feedback to improve on products/services, and
– 84 percent say they get to know their customers on a “personal” level to better tailor their services/product offerings
So how do you feel going into 2014? Luckily, most small business owners in the survey felt their quality of life is improving with fewer entrepreneurs finding it stressful to balance their personal and business lives (59 percent, down from 64 percent in spring 2007). We hope you’re part of that group.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.