Today marks the culmination of National Small Business Week. And small business owners will be looking to end the week on a high note.
After all, owning a small business offers numerous benefits. According to a recent survey by small business email marketing provider Constant Contact Inc, 30% of small business owners say having the freedom to try new things and make mistakes is the best part of running a small business. Other perks include being able to control their own destiny (29%), being the decision maker (19%), and putting their personal stamp on things (12%).
This may all be music to small business owners’ ears, but running a small business has its challenges. For instance, 43% of the nearly 800 respondents say having to wear so many different hats—including marketer, operations manager, and customer relations director—is the most difficult part of running a small business. Other challenges include riding out bad economic times (20%) and hiring and managing staff (10%). And small business owners have a whole ensemble of concerns, mainly surrounding their customers. According to the survey, 66% of small business owners list finding new customers as their top business concern. Having enough time to get all of their work done (55%), retaining existing customers (40%), paying their bills (32%), and keeping up with technology advances (30%) are other main anxieties.
Fortunately, social media can help small businesses pump up the volume in terms of getting customers’ attention. However, a separate study by research firm Clutch found that only 53% of the more than 350 small business owners surveyed actively use the channel. What’s more, a quarter of respondents say they’re unlikely to use social media in the future. But social isn’t the only digital channel getting ignored. According to Clutch, less than half of respondents (45%) rely on SEO and just 25% use online advertising.
If small businesses really want to hear the cash register sing, then they need to invest in social. When it comes to internal talent, many small business owners are willing to pull a few strings to make it happen. In fact, 38% of small business owners expect to increase the amount of time employees dedicate to social this year, compared to 16% who intend to decrease this investment; 38% of respondents plan to dedicate the same amount of hours to the channel. Small business owners also recognize that additional investment in social is instrumental to their success. According to Clutch, 30% of respondents intend to increase their spending on social media ads versus 21% who plan on decreasing their dedicated dollars.
Still, many small business owners are sticking to their one-man-band routine. Thirty percent of respondents plan to decrease their spending on outside agencies and consultants, according to Clutch, and 22% say that they don’t use them at all.
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