USPS Survey: Small Businesses Need New Customers

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The inability to attract prospective clients is the No. 1 reason for small-business failure, according to a study released yesterday by the U.S. Postal Service.


The study, which was conducted for the USPS by the Millward Brown Group, an international market research firm, found that 52 percent of small-business owners said they spend the bulk of their time trying to attract customers.


For the study, 511 small-business owners were surveyed to gather information on their efforts to acquire and retain customers and the efforts to fulfill customer orders. Survey participants were owners of small businesses with less than 20 employees.


The survey also found that 41 percent of small-business owners spend 10 to 20 hours a week trying to attract new customers to their business. An additional 20 percent spend more than half of their week doing so.


In the survey, small-business owners said that lack of time and money were the two biggest reasons for the inability to gain new customers. More than 60 percent attributed the inability to the difficulty in reaching prospective targets, while 59 percent acknowledged that it is simply too costly to attract new customers.


"Thousands of small-business owners have struggled because of the difficulty in attracting new customers," said Pam Gibert, vice president of retail at the USPS. "A survey conducted by Millward Brown shows that small-business owners need an easier and more cost-effective means of attracting new customers."


She noted that the USPS Web site, www.usps.com, has a Small Business Tools page that can help small businesses gain new customers.


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