From launching new products to making new hires, here is what small businesses are excited about in the new year. Ninety percent of small business owners plan to hire one to two new employees in the upcoming year, just one of the many ways in which small businesses are poised to evolve and expand, according to the results of a new nationwide survey released by Microsoft Store.
"Nearly half of business owners surveyed identified their top challenge as staying ahead of rapid changes in technology in 2018," Todd Minor wrote for Windows. "Additionally, 23 percent emphasized that budget constraints were top of mind in maintaining and growing their endeavors. For the newer small business, budget was their top challenge, which is expected for businesses in operation less than a year."
"Despite the challenge to keep pace with digital innovation that companies face today, survey respondents cited the many benefits of being a small business owner including work life balance. Eighty percent of respondents say they currently maintain enough freedom and flexibility to support their work-life balance. Respondents maintain a high level of mobility, working off-site and in multiple locations instead of at a fixed venue. The younger the business (less than one year old), the more likely it is to have employees who work primarily from mobile devices. As companies grow, mobile use gives way to other devices and digital options for how work gets done."
Hiring firms can reach out to Small Business Owners who plan to hire in 2018. The latest AudienceSCAN survey found 32% of SMB Owners think if a local business advertises frequently, they must be doing well.
"Many reported they felt unprepared for cybersecurity threats," Rob Starr wrote for Small Business Trends. "What’s worse, a number were either not concerned about a serious data breach (50 percent) or are not planning to protect themselves (25 percent)."
"There were also a number of respondents that took cyber security seriously. Of those, many said they would rather pay for a service than do it themselves. Thirty percent of this group reported using encryption software and 40 percent said they made sure their employees were using antivirus software."
This is where other businesses and step in and offer support and services for Small Business Owners. The most recent AudienceSCAN study showed 31% of SMB Owners plan to hire out for accounting/tax services next year; 13% will invest in legal/attorney services; and 8% will pay for tutoring services. B2B marketers can target these SMBs.
"A number of small businesses (37.6 percent) planned on launching new services and or products despite these ongoing concerns about their budgets. Still, these potential cash issues topped the list of worries for 23 percent of respondents and small companies that had been in business for less than a year were the most concerned."
Businesses specializing in new product launches, and even small business lenders, can promote their SMB services through social media. The newest results from the AudienceSCAN study revealed Small Business Owners are 47% more likely than average to agree that advertising on social networks like Facebook and Twitter is useful to them.
"There were other optimistic numbers. Just over 35 percent of the respondents said they were going to put together a new marketing strategy. Just under 40 percent said they have plans to give back to the community where they run their business."