In December, as part of our ceaseless effort to better understand the evolving world of small business owners, AP Intego was pleased to join the Small Business Trends Alliance, coordinated by Guidant Financial, in their annual Small Business Trends Survey. If you’re reading as one of our many affinity partners, we trust you’ll find lots of good insights on the state of small businesses. And if you’re reading this as one of the 2,400 amazing business owners who took the time to take the survey, thank you very much—this is all about you!
To say that 2020 was an outlier would be the understatement of the millennium (and we just started a new millennium, so that’s a bold statement but we’re sticking to it). A Black Swan, a once-in-a-lifetime, a watershed, one for the books, etc., etc. Surveys taken under these circumstances should always be understood within that context. With that said, however, this survey offers an important snapshot of how business owners are doing and feeling about the current zeitgeist, and that’s pretty useful in and of itself.
The 50-ish question survey was open to current and aspiring small business owners across all industries, and dealt with topics as far-ranging as what sources of capital were used to open businesses, to the ways in which businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.
We’ll be doling out some survey-drawn observations and wisdom over the next several weeks, but to kick things off on a positive note, here’s a few of our personal favorite stats:
- Despite the extra trials and tribulations of 2020, we’re pleased to report that:
- 74 percent of all survey respondents said they were either “very” or “somewhat” happy being a business owner
- ...and for AP Intego respondents specifically, a whopping 83 percent reported satisfaction with the #smallbizlife—we love hearing that!
- Anyone could be forgiven for a healthy dose of pessimism about the climate for small businesses in the post-COVID-19 world, but 78 percent of respondents said that they expected their business to survive the pandemic, and 49 percent reported being “very” or “somewhat” confident about the future.
- About half of respondents expect to make new hires for their businesses in 2021, and more than half plan to invest in digital marketing as part of their business strategy.
Now, those are some relatively rosy stats, and we all know that 2020 wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for business owners. We fully intend to delve into some of the more concerning revelations from the survey in future posts. But we have to say that, on the whole, we were heartened by much of what we saw in the results, and were reminded once again that business owners are some of the most resourceful, adaptable, and unflappable people on the planet. The sheer volume and variety of problems—major, minor, and everything in between— that every business owner confronts on a day-to-day basis is exhausting during the best of times, but it also seems to be great preparation for events that call for deep wells of resilience, confidence, and inventive problem-solving skills.
Again, many thanks to those of you who helped us by taking or promoting the survey—and for the rest of you: there’s always next time! Stay tuned for more insights and observations to come...