One of the findings of the survey is that for small businesses one of their biggest challenges is getting new customers.
I see this quite a bit as I travel around the USA, speaking to thousands of business owners a year. While getting "new" customers is good, I also think it's so important to focus on the customers who have already purchase from you and what can you do to get them to buy more and to get them to refer new customers to you.
In my latest book, "Celebrity CEO - How Entrepreneurs Can Thrive by Building Community and a Strong Personal Brand" I write about the importance of building a community, a fan base a tribe (as Seth Godin has said for years - read his book This is Marketing).
Here's a few things the survey uncovered:
- Finding new customers continues to be SMBs’ most significant challenge for building their business this year, although it dropped slightly with 36% of SMB owners noting it would be their top challenge in 2019 versus the 46% that indicated it would be their top challenge in 2018.
- With the unemployment rate continuing to drop over the last year, it has become increasingly difficult for SMBs to find quality talent as they compete with bigger businesses that have more flexibility with compensation and benefits packages. Conversely, the number of SMB owners saying that limited access to capital would be their biggest challenge with growing their company this year slid from 16% in 2018 to 14% in 2019, going from SMBs second biggest challenge with growth to their fourth biggest.
- Email and social media marketing (26%) topped their list, followed by online advertising (18%) and networking events or conferences (17%). Networking online (11%) and content marketing/PR (9%) rounded out the top five ways they plan to build out sales pipelines.
- When we asked SMBs last year if tax reform would have a positive or negative impact on their business during the year, most SMB owners (43%) said it would have no impact. The responses seemed to make sense given SMBs were filing taxes for 2017 around that time and tax reform only came into play for the 2018 calendar year.
- With regulation changes, tax reform and the government shutdown only slightly impacting the majority of SMBs it wasn’t shocking that the vast majority of SMB owners (69%) said they weren’t planning any course corrections in the face of uncertain government action throughout the calendar year.