Category Archives: Current in Entrepreneurship

8 Easy businesses to Start.

Sam Walton was an ex-retail employee who got the idea to buy a little five and dime store in a small town in Arkansas. That small beginning eventually became Walmart, a global giant that today has over 11,000 stores. Sometimes entrepreneurs dream about an aha, world-changing tech business. They struggle to come up with a unique idea. But the most enduring businesses often begin as simple ideas.

8 Easy Businesses to Start Today  As the Sam Walton example shows, even a simple retail store can hold huge promise if you work hard. Here are eight examples of businesses that are easy to start.

Logo Designer  If you have some basic design skills and access to a computer and graphic design software, one option is to start your own graphic design business. Focus on something simple like logo design.

Set up a website using a low cost platform like Wix, Weebly or GoDaddy to showcase samples of your work. You may also want to offer your services on freelance marketplace sites.

But you’re not limited to the online world. Target businesses in your local area through your local chamber of commerce and local listings. Then build repeat business through word of mouth.

House and Pet Sitter  If you’re seeking a business with virtually no upfront cost, then house sitting and pet sitting services are one option. You don’t need any training or equipment — just be responsible.

Offer your services through online classifieds or marketplaces like Care.com and Rover. Put out flyers and touch base with potential referral sources such as veterinarians and realtors.

Virtual Assistant  Virtual assistants help businesses and individuals with online administrative work. Tasks include helping clients manage email correspondence, schedule calendar appointments and update  social media accounts. For tools you need an internet connection and a computer.  Freelance platforms like Upwork and Freelancer can be a source of new clients. Create your own website and use social media for marketing, too.

Errand Service  Offer services ranging from grocery shopping to picking up dry cleaning. You don’t need any training or capital to get started. But unless you live in an area with reliable public transportation, you’ll probably need a vehicle.

You’ll also need a way to market your services. One option is to offer your services on errand marketplaces like TaskRabbit, Cheaver or ErrandTribe, or in local classifieds.

E-commerce Seller  Anyone can open a shop on e-commerce marketplaces like eBay, Meylah or Amazon. If you find a good wholesaler or other source for quality products, create your own niche business with an online store.

The cost can be under $50 a month for the selling platform, plus transaction fees. Then purchase the goods you plan on selling and some shipping materials. Since it’s online commerce, you don’t need to start with a lot of inventory, either.

Photographer  Have an artistic eye and like to take pictures? Consider starting a photography business.  There are several different niches including baby, wedding or event photographer. You can even take photos and sell them online as stock images.  A camera, a computer, good lighting and some editing software are the primary tools.

Tutor  If you have any expertise in an academic subject area, you could offer tutoring services.  As a tutor, you work one-on-one with clients to help them understand specific subject matter. You can even focus on things like SAT prep.  If you don’t have enough of a potential client base in your immediate area, offer your service to online clients. Use a free video platform such as Skype or Hangouts to hold tutoring sessions.

Video Creator   If you like to shoot video, YouTube and basic Vimeo accounts are free and easy to set up. And if you get enough regular viewers, you can build an entire business around the platform, earning advertising revenues.  There’s no shortage of video subject matter. Businesses have been built on everything from funny cat videos to DIY home improvement tutorials.  Once you start your channel and post content regularly, focus on building your network online.

Final Pointers   Finally, as with starting any new business, don’t forget to check your state and local authorities to see if your chosen business requires any special licenses.  Be sure to also check regarding any sales tax implications. If you’re adopting a name for your business make sure it is legally available. After you do your legal homework, get started.

By SmallBizTrends Guest Blogger, Anita Campbell

Hacking for Violence.

 

Atlanta’s Goodie Nation, a social impact accelerator, held an innovation lab #HackThe Violence on Saturday, June 17th at the Atlanta Tech Village.  It was described as a program designed to turn college students into social impact tech startup founders.  Their objective was to reduce violence 40% by the year 2020 using innovation.

This entrepreneurship instructor was blown away by the manner in which the students assimilated the process and moved through the workshop.  The cohort of twenty eight top Atlanta college students (Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Morehouse, Kennesaw State) is passionate about social change.  They were paired with mentors (coordinated by Mario Suffren) and selected violence subject-matter areas to combat identifying users, diagnosing problems, brainstorming product features, and story-boarding what the product looks like in a design thinking Product-Market Fit workshop.

Goodie Nation is a social impact pre-accelerator that provides a role for all people to play in an innovative process solving some of the world’s toughest problems. Their programming develops innovators through training and support as well as social enterprises via a 6-month process. They aim to become a world leader at empowering individuals to solve problems for their own communities.  Co-founded by Joey Womack and Justin Dawkins, Goodie Nation is based on the Hive Global Leaders Program, a community of 1,500 purpose-driven leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators from 115 countries around the world.

Womack is a graduate of the Hive’s three-day leadership training program for mission-driven innovators held annually in San Francisco, the Harvard Medical School Boston, and Los Angeles.  Everyone at Goodie Nation is to be commended for using such a powerful process to help make the world a better place and specifically help under-served communities.  Their focus is on four sectors -economic development, education, health and wellness, and public safety.  Here is a link to their fact sheet:    https://docs.google.com/document/d/13ax1f29Bx9ZH1omHo_oWTYQb3OJtIJFQo5Wye5j98Y/edit

We’ve never seen the Lean Startup evidenced-based entrepreneurship process applied to social change and a major problem so directly.  Kudos to Goodie Nation and the Atlanta Tech Village for creating such a powerful challenge.  It was organized with the help of Microsoft and Pivotal Labs (Atlanta office of San Francisco-based accelerator which helps transform Fortune 500 cos. to digital and software applications).  Students get a taste of startup life in a fast-paced program and will walk away with permanent mentors and a clickable prototype after four weeks.

Cohorts are now working with their mentors via email, conference calls, and live based on needs.  Over the weekend of July 8th and 9th at the Pivotal Labs in Ponce City Market student they’ll  participate in a Hackathon, a design sprint-like event to collaborate on solutions.  Before then,  participants need to interview 30 real-life user personas who fit their general profile and search similar company propositions to identify key points of difference.  The product should be valuable!

 

To Go Boldly Where No One Has Gone Before.

 

Ok, you have for some time been sick and tired of working for other people and you have decided to start up your own business. You have mustered the necessary courage and have finally made the decision that it’s time to work for yourself, doing what you like, when you like it. Great! You start to feel the excitement and a sense of expectation filling your heart as you boldly face what the future is going to bring you. After all many other corporate people have taken that step and you are just following their lead. All this sounds so fantastic, doesn’t it?

In many ways it should and it certainly could be so. The reality however tells a different story. It should not surprise us then that one out five new businesses fail in the first year of trading and one in three fail within the first three years (DTI figures). I wonder why? What is causing such failures? What is the problem?

The fact is that anyone can start a business but not everyone has the ability to maintain and develop it successfully. The hard reality is that your previous corporate experience is not what will make you an entrepreneur. At best it would make you a good start up business but it takes much more to make you an entrepreneur. Anyone can start their own business if they have the guts to do so; but not many are going to be entrepreneurs.

The fact is that there is a paradox contained in being an entrepreneur. On one hand you need to run a successful and growing business that will produce enough income and revenue. What all this means is that you need to focus very clearly on what might be successful and well accepted in the market place. On the other hand, if you really want to be an entrepreneur, you need to be able to be a pioneer; take risks, going against the flow and somehow have the long sight of things to come. All this may take some time to develop.

Let me put it in another way. On the one hand you are pursuing the safety that comes from doing what you know best, possibly your experience from the corporate world. Your desire is simply to replace the income received from the corporation you used to be part of with an income that comes from your own direct efforts. And however noble that might be that is not what will make you an entrepreneur.

As opposed to that some of us have decided to go down the creative route. We have considered the risks but have brushed them aside because of our compelling vision to create something new, whether a different product, a new service or a new approach to something already existing. In all accounts your new business venture starts with a high dose of risk. Thomas Power (Chairman of Ecademy) recently said quite clearly that it is only the person who is prepared to run risks that can claim the name of “entrepreneur”. Sadly, many people starting businesses are not and in so doing they miss the opportunity of entrepreneurship.

One of the problems facing “business creation” these days is that we live in a society where we have grown increasingly afraid of stepping out of our comfort zone or stepping forward whatever the risks involved. We have left the security of our corporate positions with our guaranteed salaries and stepped out expecting to have the same income and the same benefits. As soon as we discovered that this is not happening frustration, loss of confidence, disappointment and failure follow rapidly thereafter.

The tragedy is that whilst before we most probably had a long term vision for the company we were part of we are now bound by short term objectives and goals. Which in many ways condemn our new business to a meagre and short life. Often we lay our dreams and visions aside to simply bring the bacon home. And as a result we find that the passion for our job, our expertise and knowledge quickly dwindles away and is replaced by harsh reality of marketing plans, sales strategies, finding new clients and the administrative burden that comes from being on your own.

Is there a way out of this paradox? I believe there is and it focuses on re-discovering the true spirit of entrepreneurship. That is what I teach in my courses and I speak about at every opportunity. We need to rediscover entrepreneurship and make sure that this spirit inspires and guides every thought and action that we take. The choice before us is simple: we can carry on being a simple, ordinary, often boring start up business or we can be an exciting, extraordinary enterprise. There is only a positive way to solve the paradox of entrepreneurship and that starts with clearly understanding what entrepreneurship is all about. What are the characteristics, both personal and professional, needed to be a successful entrepreneur. Being a successful entrepreneur has little to do with cash flow and business plans; every business needs them. Rather, being an entrepreneur has much to do with vision and passion. Entrepreneurship has little to do with marketing plans and sales strategies that every business needs; it has much to do with setting clear goals and strategic thinking. Succeeding as an entrepreneur has little to do with systems and policies but it has a tremendous amount to do with creativity, innovation and USPs. Being a great entrepreneur has little to do with management but much to do with good leadership of the right team to work with you.

As corporations worldwide change and breakdown we are more and more living in the time of entrepreneurship.  We have a number of very successful entrepreneurs who have started their businesses with a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve and have been willing and ready to face the risks that come from stepping forward, often in unknown territories. I am thinking of people such as Richard Branson or Anita Roddick who let’s face it have had their share of mistakes but who have persisted to build successful organisations and they are just two of the many that could be mentioned. So let me challenge you, do you want to just start a business or do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do you want to simply use your knowledge and experience trying to make an independent living out of it? Or do you want to “boldly go where no-one has gone before”? The choice is yours.

Launch Tennessee 36/86 Conference 2017 Grand Slam

Launch Tennessee hit a Grand Slam with their fifth annual 36/86 entrepreneurship conference June 5th through 8th in Nashville.  It is the Southeast’s premier technology event for entrepreneurs and investors, named for the longitudinal coordinates of Nashville.

This year was star-spangled featuring Fred Smith, founder, and CEO of Fed-Ex, Governor Bill Haslam, former Senator Dr. Bill Frist, and AOL founder and entrepreneurship maven Steve Case.  Each offered keen insights into innovative change, better education, job creation, geography as an asset, scaling tech to customers, imaginative healthcare, investing in women and diversity, and manufacturing with 3D printing.  Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock and his team put together the best entrepreneurship event of the year combining quality startup pitches with carefully selected topics of current interest.

Notable interviews included Case along with Jay Rogers of Local Motors and Jon Schieber of Tech Crunch discussing Steve’s new book The Third Wave of the Internet.  This new paradigm in which entrepreneurs transform energy and food will change the way we live our lives.  Tech companies must re-think their relationship with customers, competitors, and governments. One example is Rogers’ Local Motors micro-factories which use digital manufacturing to drive production.

Contemporary topics like trends in sports tech, using geography as a favored position, and raising money locally kept the audience sharply engaged.  The story of combining Wal-Mart’s e-commerce with traditional retail was especially interesting.  Jeremy King, Wal-Mart Chief Tech Officer, described their acquisition of fifteen internet companies (jet.com, shoes.com), some for products and others tech skills.  The focus now is on customer experience, and zeal-Mart is experimenting with employee/associate deliveries en route home after work.  Ninety percent of all Americans live within five miles of a Wal-Mart.  They’ve also added a speed shopping method for Sam’s Club.  Using an app, three items can be checked out in five minutes.

A great feature of 36/86 is its pitches.  They are interspersed throughout the conference and act aas breaksbetween presentations.  Lasting only two minutes, the audience voted for each company’s sales pitch on a conference app.  Ten finalists from each segment then had four minutes to pitch on the last day to a panel of nine experienced judges.  They, in turn, selected the winner of a Fed-Ex $50,000 grand prize.  This year’s winner was Wzyerr, Inc., a Covington, KY-based company using artificial intelligence to provide enterprise-level market search.

Two other components of this exceptional entrepreneurship conference are the ambiance and networking.  Set in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center centrally located next to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bridgestone Arena, the venue is a grand palace with an outdoor patio used at the end of each first day for a street fair.  This open-air block party features local food, live music, Tennessee craft cocktails, and, this year, a playoff Predators hockey game on a big screen.

One theme touched on often was the coming “Internet of Things” (IoT).  It will someday enable every item we use to become a computer -kitchen appliances, automobiles, lighting, plumbing, and tasks of every kind.  IoT connects devices and sensors to allow remote monitoring, manipulation, and evaluation.  It will be used to improve decision-making, provide better customer understanding, and improve operations through cost reductions.

Optional workshops the last day allowed attendees to choose between “How to CEO”, “Win Your Clients Inbox”, “No-Cost Marketing”, and a “formula for finding after product-market fit.  The latter, so critical to lean startup success, was presented by Sean Sheppard of San Francisco’s GrowthX Academy.  Their market accelerator program can help grow a company through predictable and profitable revenue using UX Design, which enhances user satisfaction.  Using their “SPIN” Cycle (situation, problem, implication, and needed pay-off).  GrowthX crafts a unique value position validated by an end user.

All left the 2017 version of 36/86 better informed and connected.  Speaker caliber, pitch selection, and cutting-edge topics made this conference special.  Kudos to Fred Smith to personally support his generous Fed-Ex gift to the conference and entrepreneurship. He remains a shining example of American startup success.

 

 

Want a Mentor? Here are Five Keys.

You’ve heard plenty about the power of mentors, but lasering in on and landing the right one can be tricky.  Here Are 5 Keys to Choosing and Approaching the Right One:  Bill Gates has his Warren Buffett. Luke Skywalker has his Yoda. Kanye West has his, uh, Kanye West.

You’ve read or heard much on the power and importance of mentors. But how do you find the right one for you? And how do you get past that intimidating, even scary step of approaching someone to be your mentor?

Wonder no more my dear readers. I shall mentor you on these very questions.  First, just how do you choose the right one? And no, there’s no such thing as Mentor Tinder, so you’re going to have to do your homework. Here are five things to look for in your ideal mentor–and then five ways to reel them in:

What to look for in a potential mentor

1. They have a propensity for willingness.

You shouldn’t be timid in asking for a mentor, and you certainly want to increase your chances of getting a “yes”. So it’s important to look for leading indicators as to whether or not someone is likely to say yes to a mentor request.

Are they involved in the community? Do they have a track record of mentoring? Are they known for being an “others-oriented leader“? Good signs all.

2. They ask more than they answer.

While you want advice from your mentor, you want the right advice that’s tailored to your unique situation, skills, and development opportunities. Mentors that ask a lot of good questions are putting effort into efficiently helping you, and helping you help yourself.

How do you find out if they have this skill set? Ask around if they’re known for asking a round (or two) of questions, versus just dictating answers.

3. They embody characteristics you want to emulate.

Every minute spent with a mentor is precious, so you may as well be a) looking forward to being around them, and b) looking to absorb, reinforce, and replicate shared values.

4. They’re not too much like you.

You want core values and beliefs in common, but you don’t want your mentor to be a replica of you. Are you extroverted? Consider an introvert mentor (or vice versa). Not the best communicator? Look for a public speaking stud. You get the idea.

5. They’ve succeeded in your field.

Not everyone will agree with this, citing the need for diversity of wisdom. Thanks, but I’d rather take somebody who has “been there, done that” and can help me be there and do that, too. Someone that will hold me accountable on my own path to success.

How to reel them in

Now that you’re circling around a targeted mentor, it’s time to land the plane. Here’s the approach:

1. Be prepared, but not presumptuous. While you want to assume success in your ask and show up prepared, understand that you may get a “no.” Show emotional intelligence, indicating that you know you’re asking for a commitment–and that it’s a privilege to get a “yes”.

2. Share why you’re asking them in particular. Be sincere and specific without being butt-kissy.

3. Share why you’re a good fit for them. Again, be sincere and specific. Include how you might be a potential value-add to them.

4. Be clear on what you want from the relationship and why. If you don’t know what you want, they won’t know how to help–and they’ll surely gracefully withdraw from the relationship. Be willing to negotiate and be flexible on how, when, and where the mentor sessions take place.

5. Share why you’d be a great mentee. As Sheryl Sandberg indicated in Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, mentors want to know that you can be successful, that you have potential, and that you’re not just some random lost soul who’s throwing darts. They want to know their investment will pay dividends. So choose wisely, stick the landing, and make the most out of the force that is mentorship.

By Scott Mautz, Author, ‘Find The Fire: Ignite Your Inspiration and Make Work Exciting Again, Inc. Magazine, 5/16/2017.

Best Online Businesses.

With all the doom and gloom news about the economy, there’s never been a better time to make an extra paycheck online with a minimal amount of time and effort.  A perfect part-time business would have to be very easy to start, require little time and money and no technical expertise, be easy to maintain with just a few hours a week and have a proven track record with a high probability of success.

1. Information marketing: We’re in the information age, and the internet provides you with the ideal medium to exchange know-how for money. Do you know the best fishing holes? How to play guitar? The secrets to a successful marriage? A recipe for moist and delicious brownies? A trick for saving gas?

 

2. eBay: One of the largest online marketplaces makes it a piece of cake to get your own business going. You can open an account and start making money within hours on eBay!  Take a look at some of the largest eBay PowerSellers and notice how they specialize in very specific products (iPods, cell phones, dog grooming kits, etc.). This allows them to leverage their efforts. A listing is created once, and money is collected over and over again.

3. Affiliate marketing: This may possibly be the absolute laziest way to make money because it doesn’t require you to have a product, make a sale or ever have any interaction with customers. This is essentially a “referral” business, or as one of my book contributors likes to call it, “passionate recommendations.” Basically, you can get paid a referral commission just for sending people to sites (or vendors) that are set up to pay affiliate fees once a sale is made. The vendor does all the selling, fulfills the purchase and handles any customer service issues–and you just collect your check..not bad!

 

4. Blogging: This business is best suited for folks who enjoy communicating about a particular subject. Think of blogs as journals of sorts. Although you can have a personal blog, writing about a particular topic will have a higher chance for financial success. The range of topics is virtually endless–photography, sports cars, parenting, dieting, star gazing, the latest gadgets, Hollywood gossip–you name it, as there are blogs on just about everything you can imagine. Don’t worry about competition. Folks who read one blog are apt to read others on a topic they’re passionate about, as long as you have something interesting to say.

5. Yahoo! Store: This business is very similar to eBay in the sense that it’s a monster-sized marketplace but more similar to a store in the true sense of the word. Think having your own retail outlet but without the hassles of rent, employees, utilities and all the other expenses of a traditional brick-and-mortar store.

About Generation Z, True Entrepreneurs.

Listen to the podcast:  David and Jonah Stillman discuss their book about managing Generation Z.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/knowledge-wharton/id120724941  The following are three key points from the conversation.

  1. Generation Z is ambitious and hardworking. Compared to the millennial generation, Gen Z is more competitive and independent. Millennials were raised to believe in collaboration and inclusion, which are positive traits that extend to their work ethic. However, the view that everyone wins if everyone works together isn’t necessarily realistic.

“I was told that there’s winners and losers, and if I’m not willing to work my butt off there are 70 million other Gen Zers that are going to come right up behind you and take your job,” Jonah Stillman says. “We are a very competitive and driven generation.”

It’s important for millennial managers to realize they need a different approach with their youngest charges.

“Now we’ve got a generation that’s going to be much more independent and very competitive,” David Stillman says. “I think we run the risk that millennials will dismiss this generation as not loyal, not team players, and it’s just not true. They’re coming and looking through a completely different lens. I think step one is that we need to train those who are going to be on the frontlines just how different Gen Z will be from millennials.”

  1. Generation Z babies are digital natives. Employees who belong to Generation Z have never known life without the internet or social media, and they are comfortable with rapidly changing technology. It’s a trait that the Stillmans identify as phygital.

“Phygital has sort of blurred the lines between physical and digital,” David Stillman says. “They see no line at all. This generation has only known a world where their phones are smart.”

Because Zers are digital natives, they can serve as authority figures on the technology that is so imperative to the modern workplace. They are quick to streamline processes, and they have less hesitation or fear to try something new.

“One thing we heard again and again in researching for the book was Gen Z felt the other generations over-thought a lot of things and took too long,” David Stillman says. “So, they are going to be good to say, ‘Let’s just try it, let’s get out there, let’s do it and maybe cut out a lot of the deep, long processes.’

“At the same time, we have to be careful because this generation can act too quickly. You don’t want them having a company spend all these resources to move something that is only just a quick fad that came and went.”

  1. Generation Z is looking for alternatives. Economic and political events — including Sept. 11th and the Great Recession — have critically  shaped the worldview of Gen Zers. While millennials are often seen as having an undeserved sense of entitlement, Zers have an attitude more in line with their Generation X parents. David Stillman describes it as the difference between, “Wow, this job is lucky to have me,” and “Wow, I’m so lucky to have this job.”

“That switch up, because of the Recession as well as Gen X parents with some tough love, 76% of Gen Z said they are willing to start at the bottom and work their way up,” he says. “I think it’s going to be great.”

Jonah Stillman describes his peers as the do-it-yourself generation, partly because the internet provides unprecedented opportunities for self-education.

“If I wanted to learn how to re-tile my bathroom floor or speak Russian, I could do all of that and anything in between by logging onto YouTube,” he says.

His generation is more willing to think beyond the traditional path to that first job. Like Harvard-bound Malia Obama, more Zers are weighing the idea of a “gap year” between high school and college to travel, intern, learn a skill or simply hone in on what they want to be when they grow up.

The reason for the change lies partly with the increasing burden of college debt. The younger set is hyper-aware of the debt that millennials have, and they don’t want to be saddled with the same load. They want to find a deeper connection between an expensive education and what they will do with it.

“We know that 75% of Gen Zs believe that there are other ways of getting a good education than by going to college,” Jonah Stillman said.

From Knowledge at Wharton May 24, 2017

The Definitive Guide to Affiliate Marketing.

The ubiquitous rise of the internet has had a profound effect on mankind, dramatically altering both how we live and work. Yet, in our on-demand society replete with endless conveniences, one of the single most resonating benefits has been the ability to live, work and earn from anywhere on this planet. It’s an allure that attracts droves of individuals who are frustrated with the throes of 9-to-5 life, seeking ways they can untether the cord of corporate responsibility.

Clearly, the temptation of becoming a digital nomad and traveling the world, or simply working from home on your own schedule, was born well before Tim Ferris’s iconic, 4-Hour Work Week. However, for most who are drawn into this life replete with the potential for unapologetic income and wealth, coupled with the ability to call their own shots and build a business around an intended lifestyle, affiliate marketing offers a cliched pathway to riches beyond measure.

For Dan Henry, the salient dream of living life and succeeding by marketing products or services as an affiliate wasn’t just alive, it was lucid. Still, dream as he might, in 2011 Henry was still just a college dropout delivering pizzas door-to-door just to make a living. However, compelled by a nascent desire to live according to own terms, he knew that there was more to life than existing paycheck-to-paycheck.

Yet, like any other young adult, Henry struggled in life, unsure of where to go or what to do, embattled by bad habits that included a chronic addiction to cigarettes. He was the product of circumstances, but that didn’t make him a victim. Like any other person looking to succeed, he knew some serious changes to his life were in order. And one of those changes was the necessity to quit smoking cigarettes, a habit he had come to abhor.

Although he had tried countless times in the past, he had failed to quit. But this time was different. His frame-of-mind had changed. And something inside of him clicked when he realized he could use electronic cigarettes to actually ween himself off the “real thing.” He implemented a system where he used a low-quality gas station brand, and went from strong to medium then mild over a multi-week period.T (more…)

More Than 50% Self-Employed by 2020.

Small businesses (SMBs) are the heart of the American economy. In fact, studies show a new business is started in the U.S. every minute. It’s even been said that more than 50 percent of all workers will be self-employed by 2020.

And now as we chart a course into 2017, under the governance of a new commander-in-chief, there are potential new concerns for SMBs on top of normal day-to-day business affairs. Where do you see your business going in the coming year?  Have you attempted anything new to grow revenue and profits? What is your confidence level in the economy? Those are just a few of the questions we were curious about in the poll.

This year’s survey results represented data from 1127 different small businesses, the highest participation to date.  Small business leaders and executives weighed in on important topics, including:

  • Support of government for small businesses
  • Impact of the election and a new presidency
  • Top business challenges
  • Anticipated growth
  • Growth strategies
  • Social media use
  • IT spending and use

After we took time to hone in on the most important topics, administer the surveys, collect data, and analyze the responses, some of the results were surprising and changed our assumptions about the state of small business. It’s also very interesting to compare the stats year-over-year.  The following are some key findings from the report:

  • 50 percent of SMBs plan to hire new employees in the coming year, even though over half of companies find it to be their biggest challenge.
  • 49 percent of respondents believe a new president will have a positive effect on their company’s growth.
  • 28 percent of businesses polled sell goods or services on their respective websites, four percent less than in 2016.

Further, confidence in the U.S. economy has remained unchanged, with either no change or a slight rise in optimism. That being said, 69 percent anticipate an increase in revenue over 2016. You can find even more data on marketing, social media, IT, and when you read the report.

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Copyright, 2016. Clinton E. Day. All Rights Reserved.