With new leaders coming to office in the U.S. and around the world, 2017 may be a year of sharp changes. Some of these new arrangements will certainly impact American small businesses.
But each small business owner must still plan for company growth. DirectCapital polled a number of these entrepreneurs, seeking to get a perspective on what SMBs have lined up for 2017. The results are freely available and they include some interesting patterns:
Overall, there is a strong optimism about the U.S. economy during the next four years. A clear majority of the respondents (82%) said they are looking forward to changes in the economy that will benefit small and mid-sized businesses. And when it came to expectations about their own company, even more people felt positive about the future. A strong 92% noted that they expected their company to grow during the year. This consensus seems to coincide with other analyses. Although each economic forecast differs in its predictions, there is a general sense that things will be improving for American businesses, especially for manufacturing companies.
The business owners surveyed shared some of their high-level plans for investments into their organizations. There is a fairly even division regarding the dollar amounts they plan on investing, with those funds ranging from under $25,000 to over $100,000. In contrast, there is a distinct interest in a few of the possible investment choices. A good 70% of the people who replied identified equipment upgrades as a priority for their funds this year. Following at almost 50%, marketing investments were the next most common. Spending on inventory, headcount, and remodeling are also in the works this year for a number of businesses. Even if these kinds of investments won’t be in your company’s immediate future, there are more ways you can direct your resources to maximize growth.
Following on from questions about marketing, the survey also asked about the social media efforts each company is using. Facebook was the clear favorite (60%), with LinkedIn at second place (35%), then Google+ (28%), Twitter (24%), and YouTube (16%). Today’s business wisdom frequently notes the value of social media efforts. But as a savvy entrepreneur, you also want to know how much value you’re getting back from those efforts. The gurus at Buffer have some detailed suggestions on how to measure your social media ROI. Even though digital outreach is important, be sure that it’s not your only effort to connect with people. It’s fine if you don’t want to upgrade your marketing software because you can still invest time and energy in ways that can be just as valuable.
Of course, the specific decisions that will implement your plans should be grounded in good information and careful analysis. Small business owners said that they get information about their industry from four main sources: the Internet, trade publications, email newsletters, and associations. But the Internet is a pretty big place and the quality of content ranges from solid data to mere rumors. To help you get better input, SmallBusinessBonfire.com has listed some of the most reliable online sources.
At aACE Software, we’d be glad to help with more focused questions about business productivity software. If you have plans about ERP or CRM, accounting or inventory modules, give us a call.