If 2010 was all about maintaining current customers for small business owners, 2011 is looking up. More of these operators are actively planning to grow this year. That growth will be fueled by spending on additional employees, new equipment and a fresh focus on online marketing.
The American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor findings largely echo the outlook from the Capital One Small Business Barometer I blogged about last week. American Express analysts say that over half of the 37% of small business operators planning for growth this year expect to take financial risk to make their goals happen. Part of the financial risk will stem from increasing staff with 35% of operators expecting to hire either full or part-timers. Capital spending on items like computer hardware and software is in the plans of 44% of small business owners.
Social media is also apparent in the plans for 58% of businesses that will market themselves to consumers to achieve their growth goals. Currently, small business owners use the following social media tools to generate consumer interest:
- Facebook: 35%
- LinkedIn: 15%
- Twitter: 10%
- Blog: 8%
- YouTube: 8%
- FourSquare: 2%
Cash flow continues to be the main concern of a majority of business owners as they fund their growth efforts. But they also understand the importance of staying visible. About 1 in 10 say their mantra for success is “never stop marketing.”[Source: The Small Business Priorities: Growth, Hiring, and Cash Flow. American Express. Openforum.com. 14 Apr. 2011. Web. 16 May 2011]