A recent study conducted by Manta, an online community that caters to small businesses, showed some promising news for small and medium business owners around the country. The 2014 Mid-Year Small Business Wellness Index revealed an upward trend in optimism and growth for small and medium companies, pointing toward the potential for a promising rest of the year.
The large majority of those surveyed – 83 percent – reported that they were optimistic about their prospects moving forward. Furthermore, 68 percent of respondents said the first six months of 2014 had been successful for their companies, up 12 percent from 2013.
Although SMBs are feeling confident about future prospects, the study found many are still reluctant to start hiring – just 30 percent of respondents said they took on new staff in the first six months of the year. While this number may be lower than desired by economists, it is up 10 percent from this time last year, and 35 percent of participants said they planned on expanding staff sometime before the end of the year.
Those surveyed said entrepreneurship offers freedom, independence
Small and medium business owners revealed that, despite the challenges they face as entrepreneurs, striking out on their own has provided them with unparalleled freedom and professional independence. Approximately 72 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed said running their own company comes with a greater level of freedom and independence than working for someone else, while just 21 percent said they have more responsibility and less independence as a business owner.
When asked to rank the top benefits of being a small business owner, 52 percent cited independence and the ability to control their own destiny. Another 23 percent said being their own boss was a top reward of entrepreneurship, while 7 percent and 4 percent reported increased confidence and financial benefits, respectively.
Some of those rising to the challenge of small business ownership include millennials, who have taken to entrepreneurship in droves in recent years.
“Though a challenging undertaking, there are invaluable rewards that come with being an entrepreneur. Millennials are demonstrating they’re a new driving force behind the small business community,” said John Swanciger, CEO of Manta. “It’s no longer assumed that recent graduates will enter the traditional workforce. Companies will have to adjust as Millennials become a bigger force in the small business space.”
Approximately 76 percent of millennials polled in the survey said they had a successful first half of the year, ranking higher than any other age group. Furthermore, more millennials – 44 percent – took on more new staff this year than any other demographic, and 52 percent will continue to hire over the next six months.
Tech vital to small business success
The index also noted the increasingly important role technology plays in small business success – 39 percent of respondents said having an Internet connection was the most essential way for business owners to preserve their independence, as web access allows entrepreneurs to stay connected while in the office and at home. Another 32 percent of small business owners said having a mobile phone was most essential, while 18 percent cited email and 3 percent organizational applications.
Staying connected via mobile devices plays into another important element of business ownership – serving customers. Technology is paramount in creating a consumer friendly environment, and just as Internet connectivity and mobile access become important to entrepreneurs, so too do they play into customer needs and wants. Those interested in finding out more about their technological options should contact National Funding to inquire about IT equipment leases and financing.