Survey Finds Most Small Businesses are Pessimistic

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A recent survey shows that most small businesses do not plan on hiring within the next year, and are pessimistic or neutral in regards to the overall business environment.

The Small Business Authority Market Sentiment Survey shows that 69 percent of small businesses do not plan on hiring within the next year, 50 percent are pessimistic about the future business environment, 30 percent have raised their prices in the past year and 72 percent do not plan on utilizing cloud computing within the next two years.

"Technology utilization needs to be embraced by small to medium sized business owners over the next several years,” says Barry Sloane, President and CEO of The Small Business Authority. “It is the only area where internal costs to run one's business can be reduced as well as produce efficiencies in performance and production of one's labor pool.”

If your small business falls into the “pessimistic” category, here are a few ways to utilize technology for saving money and increasing sales:

Cloud Computing- By switching to cloud computing, a small business can save money because there is no software or hardware to purchase. Additionally, maintenance and support costs are usually included in the price of the solution. Cloud computing is also convenient, with files being accessible from anywhere and on any computer. A few cloud computing solutions worth checking out include Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and Quickbase.

Email marketing- By implementing an email marketing program, small businesses can endorse promotions, sales and events— which will send consumers to e-commerce sites or bring them into brick and mortar stores. This direct marketing option is low in cost and doesn’t take much time to execute. For email provider solutions, check out StreamSend, ConstantContact or EliteEmail.

Social Media- Social media is often mentioned when advising businesses on ways to increase their sales, and this is because social media is a big platform that a business owner has total control over. By taking time to make a social media campaign strategy, a business can gain more fans and followers that may turn into consumers. By consistently and constructively using social media (not being a spammer), a business can increase sales and brand loyalty— and the best part is it is free! If time management is a concern when it comes to social media, try a monitoring solution like HootSuite.


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1 comment

DerekL 09-09-2011 8:22 AM

Most of the suggestions provided are indeed worthy of consideration.  However, making a statement that social media is free is not 100% accurate.

Access to some of the major social media platforms is free, but the time that it takes to effectively leverage those platforms is not free.  Making the following statement about time management with a tool like HootSuite implies that by instituting such a tool, the issue of time is resolved.

Again, that's not completely true.  It may ease distribution of content over several platforms in a one-click kind of structure and may even help an organization monitor what's being said about their brand, but unless someone is skilled in the use of social media, they won't achieve great results as is seen day in and day out.

It's also important to note that social media is not a magic bullet and in some cases, may not be appropriate for a business.

Your suggestions about cloud computing and email marketing are spot on though and could be instrumental in helping a small business reduce costs while increasing efficiency.

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