Marketing comes in many different forms, but the shift has dramatically swung to online channels in the past five years. Offline advertising and marketing that used to be staples of any small businesses success - including being listed in the yellow pages and local print ads in newspapers - are now all but extinct. Small business owners have had to adapt, taking to channels like Craigslist, Google AdWords and social media. And of course there's the still popular word of mouth referrals.
It seems obvious that at this point, any small business that doesn't currently have some form of a website, is way behind the times. A recent survey of micro businesses (small businesses with between 1-10 employees) done by Vistaprint showed that nearly 70% currently have a website for their small business. Of those micro business owners who have a website, 75% are generating revenue either directly or indirectly through a website. In addition, just over 50% have a dedicated Facebook page for their small business as well.
As part of the broader survey, Vistaprint also found that the majority of micro business owners (55%) have more customers now than they did at the beginning of the year. In terms of revenue, 27% are on track to make the same amount of money as last year, while 46% are on track to make more money this year.
Larger small businesses aren't faring as well however, according to a recent study by Intuit. According to that research, small business revenue decreased by 0.5% from the previous month. It also looks like fewer and fewer small businesses are adding jobs, which is disappointing. This week, The National Federation of Independent Business said 10% of small companies added workers last month, while 11% reduced employment. Nearly eight in 10 firms stood pat.
But to close on some good news, small businesses are being seen in a very positive light amongst consumers (at least in relation to government), according to a study commissioned by the Public Affairs Council. According to the study 88% of respondents feel very positive towards small businesses and they will be most important to the economic well-being of the middle class in America over the next 50 years, with 49% of the vote.
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Jason Keith has been working for and with small businesses in the New England area for more than 10 years, specifically small, micro businesses. Born and raised in Massachusetts and a former journalist, he provides a unique perspective on the issues facing small businesses locally and nationally.To reach him directly email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone.