Converting Strong Business Optimism to Results: Avoid the Gotchas and Embrace Opportunities

Recent studies suggest business leader’s optimism is returning to pre-recession levels. The first survey, fielded by The Business Journals the day after the Presidential election, projected level of confidence in business success at 82%. A second survey by the American Institute of CPAs’ (AICPA) found that 62 percent of chief executive officers, chief financial officers, controllers and other certified public accountants at U.S. companies have an optimistic outlook for the U.S. economy for the next 12 months, up from 38 percent last quarter—a 63% increase. What else is on the minds of small and medium size business leaders?

Top Issues: One of the top issues facing the SMB market includes rising health care costs. Most (72%) of SMB companies pay for most of all of their employee’s healthcare costs and they are expected to increase, conservatively, 10% in 2017. Another pressing concern is corporate responsibility. For the last five years this has impacted many of the Fortune 1000’s but now sustainability and social responsibility are being tackled in small and mid-sized companies. 51% of those surveyed agreed with the statement “Businesses today have a responsibility to address key social and environmental issues”; and 45% agreed they are working to make sustainability an integral part of their products and services.

Technology: Technology is constantly changing how we do business. Overall ad spending will almost double 2015 budgets in 2017 on mobile advertising—increasing from $31 Billion to $53 Billion. SMB owners are also end users as 83% use their smartphones to access business news and information. However, they continue to use traditional channels to try to reach their own customers. While they expect to cut back on print, trade shows, and direct mail, those projecting to increase usage of mobile advertising grew from 10% to 12%.

One of the biggest technology challenges is the risk of security breach. In the Business Journal survey, 78% report being concerned or very concerned about the safety and security of their firm’s technology, email and documents. According to the Symantech Internet Security Report 2016 –43% of cyberattacks target SMBs. While concern is escalating, most don’t have in-house resources to deal with a breach and the average recovery cost is $36,000. Unfortunately, 60% of those who experienced a breech had to close their doors within 6 months of the breech. It is evident that this must become a consideration in 2017 planning as well as resource allocation. It is a risk every company must protect against.

Growth by Industry: What follows will be either really good news or not so good depending on the industry you and the customers you serve are in. No surprise what is on the leader board for growing industries—health care (+8.5%), accommodations (+6.7%) and professional/tech (+4.1%). Other growth industries include:

  • Educational services
  • Utilities
  • Arts
  • Management of Companies
  • Other services
  • Administrative
  • Real Estate

On the not so great list are the following industries. If you find yourself there, we should talk about how your company can outgrow the market. It is possible but it does take re-thinking your market approach and leveraging your strengths in new and different ways.

  • Transportation/Warehousing -1.6%
  • Information -2.3%
  • Wholesale Trade -3.0%
  • Retail Trade -3.2%
  • Finance and Insurance -6.2%
  • Manufacturing -10.3%
  • Construction -13.8%

If you are here you might want to take a closer look at the 3D Breakthrough Methodology (link to website), a proven methodology that assures you will address what can hold you back or even derail you while identifying the best path for future growth so the optimistic perspective becomes results not wishful thinking!

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