Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I'm not the Only Optimist in the Small Business Crowd

This post direct from the Warrillow Group, a small business development firm. While large companies continue to layoff, small business appears to be standing strong in the changing economy.

Do 81% of Small Business Owners Have Their Heads in the Sand?

With most key U.S. economic indicators pointing toward a decline, how are small business owners feeling about the economy and, in particular, the impact to their business in the next six months?

According to a recent Warrillow study, contrary to widespread fears of U.S. economic recession, 62 percent of more than 2000 surveyed small businesses said that six months from now they expect the economy, in general, to be better or the same as it is today. Nearly 81 percent said they expect the volume of goods and services they will sell in the next three to six months to be higher or unchanged when compared to current levels.
So where does this relative economic optimism spring from? It’s certainly not because small business owners have their heads in the sand. Warrillow recently conducted interviews to help identify a national panel of small business owners for its upcoming SMB 360° 7-city tour. The interviews revealed that there are at least four reasons why a significant number of SMBs feel optimistic about their future:
1. Agility & Responsiveness
Small business owners are independent and agile. They can change course quickly to accommodate new sales and marketing tactics or redouble their efforts on key customer acquisition activities:

  • “As a property management company, the economy is slightly affecting our current business plan of going after new business. We are no longer marketing to developers. We are now marketing to owners of existing properties.”
    – Property Management Business in Chicago, IL
  • “The economy has not had much of an impact on our business yet. We have done a lot of marketing and continue to grow.”
    – Manufacturing Business in Dallas, TX

2. Talent Availability
Many SMBs actively seek to benefit from a deeper pool of talent to help them increase their go-to-market strength:

  • “The economy has helped us, better employees are available.”
    – Science & Technology Business in Chicago, IL

3. Industry Predisposition
Some businesses experience a natural increase in demand during an economic slowdown:

  • “Business has not been terribly affected – we deal in the conflict industry, so the worst things can actually improve our business.”
    – Legal Services Business in Dallas, TX

4. More Cautious Approach
Some small businesses take a more cautious view of their future plans:

  • “We are moving forward with our plans, but we’re being cautious.”
    – Hospitality Business in Palo Alto, CA

When it comes to SMB optimism, it’s not all about looking on the bright side. Small business owners earn their optimism by playing to their strengths and making smart, informed decisions.



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