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Business owners are feeling good about the economy and their own financial future over the coming six months, according to the 2017 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor. Just about 72% of small business owners and managers that took part see good times ahead, up from last year when 64% felt that way. Along with this optimism comes a focus on growth and hiring.
The end result of this upswing in positivity is that small business owners are focused on growing their businesses in the immediate future, seeing growth as being their main priority. “In this economy, there's a clear correlation between business owner optimism and plans for growth,” said Susan Sobbott, president, Global Commercial Payments, American Express.
“As they look to grow, business owners plan to increase capital investments, hire staff and increase usage of low-cost methods like social media to attract new customers,” he says.
Feeling good, hiring more
Why are small business owners feeling so optimistic? They are feeling flush financially, with one in five indicating that their business is growing strong and the current economic climate has been good for business. With cash flow issues holding steady, 82% of small business owners are also confident that they will be able to get the capital and resources they need to grow their business.
They are also getting ready to start hiring more staff. Just about three-quarters reported that they need to hire more people because their business is growing, and 74% are looking for these new employees to up their overall sales volume.
Will they be hiring full-time or part-time employees? The answer was a mixed bag, with 17% planning on hiring a mix of full-time and part-time employees, while 16% are focused on taking on more part-timers, and 12% are only looking for full-timers.
More Social media please
Social media also factors into their business plans with 65% planning on upping their usage of social media platforms and tools, up 57% from last year. Why social media? They are looking to bring new customers in the door, and feel that social media is a good way to reach their target market.
Customer service is on their minds too, with 78% looking to put their focus on giving their customers better service.
The American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor was conducted by Ebiquity via telephone between March 29 and April 21, 2017. They spoke with of 700 U.S. small business owners/managers, with less than 100 employees in their business.