How Small Businesses Feel About Growth

Rick Price

This is the last blog in a series on growth.

In his book Seeing the Big Picture, entrepreneur and author Kevin Cope identifies the five drivers of business: cash, profit, assets, people…and growth. All of these are tied to the way businesses grow, and by all of these measures, owners of small to mid-size businesses are cautiously optimistic, according to an annual survey recently released.

Small business is looking up

This is the second year Wasp Barcode has issued its State of Small Business Report, surveying over 1,100 U.S. small businesses with 1 to 499 employees.

Fully 44% of them felt their confidence in the economy is better than it was a year ago – 16% said “significantly better.”

The report did note that companies with 5-50 employees are generally more pessimistic about the economy.  More than two thirds (69%) expect at least modest revenue growth – 37% of the businesses surveyed expect more than 5% increase in revenue. Only 7% expect declining revenues.

Growing numbers of employees

50% of all small businesses surveyed plan to hire employees – that’s up 12% from 2015. 16% expected to hire 11 or more workers. And half of the survey respondents said hiring those new employees is one of their top challenges right now.

The other big challenges…May I have the envelope, please?

Looking to challenges beyond hiring, 45% of these businesses mentioned increasing profit, 43% said employee healthcare, 43% pointed to growing their revenue, and 36% said cash flow.  The order of those shifted slightly as the number of employees went up, but hiring new employees was either first or second in every employee band.

Beyond the numbers

So what does it all mean? In its analysis of the Wasp Barcode survey, said, “To succeed in 2016, small businesses need a clear strategy and roadmap.” The survey noted some gaps in small business marketing, and Small Biz Trends said that leaves a lot to be desired: “Small businesses must, therefore, revisit their social media marketing strategy and identify areas where they can improve and channel the potential of this powerful medium to connect with customers.”

In addition to calling out marketing, Small Biz Trends said, “Hiring strategy is another area that calls for special attention. With 50% of small firms planning to hire new employees, it is important to identify skills that companies can benefit the most from. A great hiring strategy can help small companies attract the right talent and achieve the best value out of their investment.”

Hiring, revenue, profit, and cash flow – it all adds up to growth, and right now, that’s where these small businesses seem to be focusing their time and attention.

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This article originally appeared on and was syndicated with the author’s permission.

Rick Price

About Rick Price

Rick Price is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who now works at SAP, where he tells stories of customers' digital transformation.