May 8, 2010
Two studies about small businesspeople provide inspirational insights.
A new “Signs of the Times” study by FedEx Office shows 72 percent of responding U.S. businesses believe they’ll help lead the charge to business recovery. Conducted in April, 2010, it included small businesses with five to 100 employees with minimum revenue of $100,000.
The temporary help company, Kelly Services, funded a global study which revealed 20 percent of respondents are working as entrepreneurial independent contractors and another 50 percent aspire to work for themselves. It was a survey of 134,000 people in 29 nations in Asia, Europe, and North America.
The FedEx study:
Fifty-one percent of responding businesses indicate they’re already recovering or will be in great shape by the start of 2011. That’s quite a change. In 2009, 54 percent were worried about the economy.
Eighteen percent are now looking to hire workers compared to just 9 percent in 2009.
Marketing will have a bigger priority – 42 percent will budget for marketing this year. Thirty percent will increase budgets for sales activities.
“Small businesses are definitely getting it right when it comes to identifying and investing in the tools that will help them bounce back from a difficult period,” said Randy Scarborough, vice president of marketing for FedEx Office. “From print ads and direct mail campaigns to online marketing programs and a social media presence, small business owners today are smart and savvy about how to maximize their budgets while connecting effectively with new and existing customers down the street and around the world.”
The FedEx study highlights the wisdom of small businesses on the importance of marketing.
In the early stages of the recession back in 2008, a previous FedEx study revealed relatively few small businesses were fully aware of the effects of the downturn. That’s when 41 percent said they anticipated increasing their marketing budgets. But in 2009 when virtually every business felt the negative impact of the downturn, 44 percent were looking to increase their marketing budgets.
The current study indicates 34 percent slashed their marketing in 2009, but 31 percent regret making the cutback.
Eighty-seven percent believe in the importance of print marketing collateral, and 61 percent believe traditional marketing tools will yield a better return on their investment than the Internet.
Ironically, 51 percent of the 18 to 34 year-old demographic advocate banners, posters and signs vis-à-vis 36 percent of those aged 55 and older.
But many of the respondents say they will embrace the Web more – 46 percent online and 36 percent on social media.
But the study’s red flag: Many small businesses have not designed a cohesive logo and tagline. Sixty-four percent admit their messaging is “somewhat consistent,” 23 percent can’t afford to design messaging and branding, and 13 percent admit spending too much because they don’t have the ability or time to research possible deals.
The Kelly Services survey:
It’s not just about companies cutting back to save on employee benefits, according to Kelly Services. Uncertainty about economics is what is really triggering the trend for entrepreneurship or independent contractors.
The increase in free agency: Twenty-six percent in North America,19 percent in Asia and 17 percent in Europe.
Nearly 25 percent of all respondents indicated a desire to launch a business, especially 48 to 65 year-old males.
“The economic downturn has resulted in a new way of thinking about careers and job security. Many people have watched their jobs disappear and now want to do something that puts them in more control of their career,” says Kelly Services Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, George Corona. “These are often people with many years of experience, who may have been displaced and who have taken an entrepreneurial approach to marketing their skills.”
- Some 20 percent are freelancers, consultants, independent contractors or free agents. That’s 28 percent of baby boomers, 20 percent of Gen X and 18 percent of Gen Y.
- Another 12 percent would love to be independent.
- Younger people are worried about failing and older folks fear healthcare costs.
- Thirty percent of Gen Y would like to start their own business, but only 22 percent of Gen X and 14 percent of baby boomers would like to do so.
- Forty-eight percent feel they abilities are adequate. Fifty-four percent of baby boomers and Gen X and 40 percent of Gen Y feel confident.
“Many of those who lost their jobs as a result of the global economic crisis have had to reinvent themselves as independent contractors, freelancers and consultants. This self-employment trend may continue as more people become attracted by the autonomy, independence, and flexibility of working for themselves,” Corona added.
In conclusion, these studies demonstrate the ability and fortitude of entrepreneurs.
And, use a metaphor like Reggie Jackson once said about his Mr. October capabilities as a New York Yankee: Entrepreneurs “are the straw that stirs the drink” in economic growth.
From the Coach’s Corner, Jerry Savin, an authoritative consultant at Cambridge Technology Consulting Group, has a reminder about your online presence:
“Today, we received a frantic call from a former client asking why their website was down,” writes Mr. Savin. “As it turned out, their domain registration had expired. Oops.”
- Check the expiration dates of your current domain registrations.
- Confirm that the Administrative Contact on the Domain Registration is current and the contact’s email address is correct.
- Pay attention to the email reminders. Domain Registrars send out multiple domain registration expiration emails.
- Renew your domain registrations before they expire.
“Google gives slightly more weight to domains with longer registrations,” he adds. “So registering domains for 5 years or longer makes sense.”
His Web address: http://www.ctcg.com