More and more data continues to come to light about small businesses and their attitudes heading into the summer of 2012. As optimism continues to rise from both a national and local perspective, as the stock market continues to come back and the housing market begins to rebound, it seems that small business attitudes are also following suit. This week I wanted to provide some interesting survey results that have recently come to light, including small businesses reporting positive conditions in which to operate and wanting to work with one another. And a friend weighs in on the raging "entrepreneur" vs. "small business" debate.
According to a recent survey by Citibank, Forty-three percent of small business owners consider business conditions to be positive. When compared to a similar survey done in August of 2010, this is a significant increase of 24%. As the economy continues to improve, so too do the conditions under which small businesses can operate. But what's most important about this survey is the numbers around how small businesses have adapted and evolved to stay afloat and succeed despite the tough conditions, and be better prepared to grow and thrive in the future. As an example, 70% said they are getting more face time with customers during the downturn in order to keep and grow their business.
According to a study done by UPS for Small Business Week, small businesses crave working with vendors and partners that know their business and have a genuine understanding of how to help them. The study revealed that while nearly half (46%) of small business owners would like to work with a local resource who can help make their lives easier, no more than one in four respondents receive any kind of support from a business partner in running their business. If local resources existed, more small businesses would use it or them. If there's one thing that seems to ring true, it's that local small businesses like to support other local businesses when they can.
Friend Gene Marks examines the difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner, a topic that I have been passionate about for some time. Marks takes a personal approach to the topic, comparing himself to his father, who was an entrepreneur. "Unlike my dad, I did not raise money from outside investors or bring on equity partners. I did not operate for a decade with no revenues coming in the door. I did not bet the farm on a single product or as he liked to call it…the “Big One.” I am not a risk taker. I am not a dreamer. When I make an investment in a new product or technology it’s one that I’m able to lose without feeling it. My gambles are small. I think small. Therefore my returns are small. I am a business owner. I am a small business owner. And I’m fine with that," says Marks. As I've said in the past, people need to stop using the two terms synonymously, because it's just not accurate.
Mashable takes a look at a number or reasons why a small business would want to take advantage of Etsy, the online community of merchants that create and sell unique wares, typically personalized or customized to meet your needs. As the site has taken off so has the number of its members, its visibility and it's revenue. If you're a small business that is physically producing custom products, Etsy might be a good avenue for you. And if nothing else, it's a great way to connect with other small business owners by buying from them. Etsy has become as much about community as it has selling.
What small business stories have you read this week, have any inspired you or educated you?
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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 email@example.com.
This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone.