SMB Optimism Growing for 2018

BY Kathy Crosett
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There’s good news for business owners and media sellers in the latest quarterly survey from Wells Fargo Works. Business optimism among the 603 SMB owners who took the survey is at an 11-​year high. Here are the details.

The survey’s index score stood at 107 in early January, a significant increase from the 103 index score in November 2017. The index score is made up of how owners feel about their present situations, and what they expect during the next 12 months. In January, the "present situation" score came in at 42. The "future expectations" score stood at 65.

Over half of business owners said their revenue grew in 2017. In 2018, 66% of SMB owners expect revenue growth. Wells Fargo analysts point out that this level of optimism is a record high in the history of this survey. The good times for SMBs will translate into more capital spending (38%) and more hiring (33%) in the next 12 months.

SMB owners like what they hear from the current administration in Washington, D.C. Specifically, over 4 in 10 SMBs believe they will benefit from tax reform and from regulatory reform.

With SMB owners poised to hire more employees and invest in capital equipment, they’ll also be looking for some professional help. When asked about the most important challenges they face this year, owners said:

  • Attracting customers/​targeting business opportunities/​finding work/​new business 16%
  • Competition/​larger corporations/​internet 7%
  • Marketing/​advertising/​reaching out/​getting noticed 4%

These areas of concern are where media sellers and digital marketing services providers come in. When business owners are determined to grow, they shouldn’t use the marketing tactics that have worked in the past. They need help figuring out which audiences they’ll be selling to, and how to advertise to these audiences. SMBs also need to develop unique branding messages to help them stand apart from their well-​funded competitors.  How many businesses in your market could use this kind of help? Isn’t it time to start a conversation with them?