A while back, I wrote a column called What is the DNA of a Small Business Owner? In it, I shared what I have found to be the most salient characteristics of entrepreneurs, namely that we tend to be an enthusiastic, optimistic bunch who have the ability to handle adversity and uncertainty well.
Certainly those traits have been tested and needed the past few years as the economy has slowly emerged from the Not-So-Great-Recession. But the good news is that things are turning around and the forecast for 2013 looks to be clear. Small business owners are, as usual, at the forefront of this turnaround. According to the fall Bank of America Small Business Owner Report (SBOR), 92 percent of small business owners surveyed stated that they expected their revenue to either increase (54%) or stay the same (38%) over the next 12 months.
That optimism also translates into that all-important issue: jobs. The Small Business Owner Report tells us that one-third of small business owners plan on increasing their hiring, and more than half say they expect to keep their staffing levels the same in 2013. This creation and sustainment of jobs is a reason why small businesses are imperative to America’s economic success.
So, given all of this optimism, what do you think was the issue that was of most concern to the small business owners? Logical answers might be the deficit, or competition from abroad, or health care costs. But none of those topped the list. It turns out that small business owners are worried most about the effectiveness of our political leaders.
Certainly anyone watching Washington over the past few years would have a hard time arguing with that analysis, but again, even though small business owners are concerned about political foibles, they also see the overall economy, and their local economy in particular, improving in 2013.
The upshot of all of this is that small business owners – those folks who are on the frontlines of the U.S. economy – see things improving and to me, that means that opportunity is at hand; opportunity that should be taken advantage of. While the recession and its after-effects went on much longer than anyone wanted or most people anticipated, that means that there is a lot of pent-up demand. Consumers, entrepreneurs, big businesses – everyone is itching to get out there and move things forward. And that means that spending will very likely increase in 2013, and in turn, you need to have your business ready for this boom once it begins.
How do you do that? Not surprisingly, the SBOR is a good guide here as well. According to the Report, the best tool small business owners have in their marketing tool chest is word-of-mouth advertising (87%), followed by networking (49%). But what about that darling of the press, social media? Only 32% of small business owners counted it as an effective marketing tactic.
Whatever the case, whether you rely on word-of-mouth, chamber mixers or your Facebook page, the important thing is to get out there – now – and start marketing your business. Then, after that, market it some more, and then try something new, and then try something else. The time to get ready is always now.
Finally, let me say thank you. Because of readers like you, I too have plenty to be happy about in the new year – I get to do what I love. I wish you a Happy New Year and hope your 2013 is a healthy and prosperous one.
What marketing tactics do you have planned for the new year? Share your stories below.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here.