The 2016 State of Small Business Report, an independent survey of more than 1,100 small businesses, reveals insights on small business owners; their growth, the economy, government, marketing, hiring, and technology use.
The study, released by Wasp Barcode Technologies, uncovers that things aren’t as rosy or clear-cut as many small business pundits often make them appear.
Here’s a look at a few key small business highlights from the report:
1. Top three challenges of small business owners.
2. Small businesses want to do this in 2016.
Fifty percent of U.S. small businesses surveyed plan to hire new employees in 2016, up from 38 percent in 2015. Unfortunately, 85 percent of them say they can’t find enough qualified applicants.
3. Employee healthcare challenges on the rise.
Employee health care is a bigger challenge this year than it was in 2015. Back then, only 29 percent cited it as a top challenge; in 2016, the number jumped up to 43 percent.
4. More expect to increase revenue.
Seventy-one percent of small businesses expect revenue growth in 2016, more than they did in 2015 (57 percent).
5. Confidence in the economy has dropped.
Small businesses have less confidence in the economy than they did in 2015. Twenty-five percent say their confidence is worse for 2016–compared to 21 percent in 2015–and 44 percent say their confidence is better for 2016–compared to 47 percent in 2015.
6. There’s not a lot of love for government.
Fifty percent believe the government does not do enough to support U.S. small businesses; only 24 percent believe the government does.
7. 1 in 10 surveyed say ‘no’ to government involvement.
One in 10 small business owners surveyed said they didn’t want government involved at all.
8. Republican presidential win in 2016 is welcomed.
While most small businesses expect little impact from the 2016 presidential elections, 39 percent expect a positive impact on their business’s growth if a Republican wins and 22 percent said a GOP win would have a negative win.
The feelings weren’t as positive for a Democratic win: 34 percent said it would have a positive impact on their business’s growth, and 30 percent said it would hurt growth.
9. Marketing budgets remain small.
Nine percent invest nothing in marketing, 25 percent invest 1-3 percent of their revenue, and 29 percent invest 4-6 percent, according to the report.
10. Online marketing is a priority for small business.
The top four marketing tools used by small business are email, company websites, social media, and word of mouth.
Read the full report here.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Brain Sutter serves as the Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies’ where he sets the strategic direction and oversees the tactical execution of the company’s marketing programs. This diversified role encompasses all aspects of marketing for Wasp, including brand management, direct and channel marketing, online & digital marketing, public relations, and social media. Connect with @waspbarcode on Twitter.
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