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How Small Businesses Define and Achieve Success

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What is success for a small business owner? Take a look this this free research report provided by Infusionsoft & Emergent, which uncovers:
- How small business owners define success
- Challenges to small business success
- Overcoming challenges through technology and coaching
- And more!

For more small business insights and ideas delivered to your inbox weekly, subscribe at http://pages.infusionsoft.com/learn

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How Small Businesses Define and Achieve Success

  1. 1. How Small Businesses Define and Achieve Success
  2. 2. How do you define success? If you are a candidate, it’s the number of votes. If you are a student, it’s a passing grade. But for a small business owner, well, that’s never clearly been defined. To a small business owner, success could mean a double digit growth rate, opening a second location, taking a vacation or simply just making payroll. There is no one single answer. Or is there? Infusionsoft, a sales and marketing automation software company committed to driving small business success, and Emergent Research, a global research and consulting firm focusing on small businesses, teamed up to find out. 2 Methodology 3 How small business owners define success 5 Challenges to small business success 9 Overcoming challenges through technology 14 Overcoming challenges through coaching 18 Conclusions and recommendation for small business owners 22
  3. 3. METHODOLOGY
  4. 4. Stages of Small Business Emergent Research built on prior Infusionsoft survey data designed to identify five common stages of business growth. The study uses the stages segmentation model shown in the chart to the right throughout. 4
  5. 5. HOW SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS DEFINE SUCCESS
  6. 6. Money Doesn’t Define Success…But Small business owners don’t define success by just financial rewards. They put greater emphasis on non-financial measures of success, such as: • Ability to do work they enjoy • Being the boss • Work flexibility • Freedom and control • Having a positive impact on their employees, customers and community 6
  7. 7. Money Doesn’t Define Success…But BUT, small business owners still understand achieving non-financial goals usually requires financial success. 94% 65% 94% surveyed have specific financial goals 65% are confident they’ll achieve them 7
  8. 8. More Than Growth for Growth’s Sake Most small business owners are neither inspired, nor driven, to build large empires. • Time and effort required to build a big business would conflict with their personal definitions of success. All surveyed report planning to growth their business, yet only 12% of those surveyed expressed desire to build a large business with more than 50 employees. Most small business owners are neither inspired, nor driven, to build large empires. 8
  9. 9. CHALLENGES TO SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS
  10. 10. Challenges to Small Business Success Small businesses, regardless of industry and size, share similar challenges. The top three are: Time to get everything done Finding and retaining qualified employees Generating leads and turning them into customers 10
  11. 11. A Deeper Look For small businesses in the first two stages of growth, hiring the first employee is challenging and intimidating. This presents a challenge because they are now being responsible for managing an employee and meeting payroll. Stage 1 to 2 11
  12. 12. A Deeper Look For small businesses in the third and fourth stages of growth and with 10 or more employees, owners typically need to hire and train a supervisor, manage multiple teams and delegate authority. They also require more sophisticated processes and tech, forcing them to adjust their business model. Stage 3 to 4 12
  13. 13. Two ways of overcoming business challenges and achieving success stood out: through technology and coaching.
  14. 14. OVERCOMING CHALLENGES THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
  15. 15. Overcoming challenges through technology Technology saves time for small businesses and their employees. 15
  16. 16. Technology enables business owners to have a dispersed workforce through the cloud. • Only 37% of small businesses in the U.S. use cloud technology, but that’s changing. By 2020, 78% of small business will have transitioned to the cloud. Overcoming challenges through technology 16
  17. 17. Technology enables automation and opens the door for rich analytics. • Almost all surveyed reported automaton allows them to “do more with less”, hire fewer employees and save time. They also felt it led to a significant competitive advantage relative to their less automated competition. • Almost all surveyed had key performance metrics and used analytical software to monitor and manage against these metrics. Overcoming challenges through technology 17
  18. 18. OVERCOMING CHALLENGES THROUGH COACHING
  19. 19. Small business owners heavily rely on paid coaches, consultants and training programs for overcoming challenges. • Almost all surveyed reported using one or more of these knowledge-building resources. • Stage 3 businesses are most likely to use these resources – likely due to high hurdles moving from Stage 3 to 4. Overcoming challenges through coaching 19
  20. 20. Several factors driving use of coaches: Overcoming challenges through coaching Increasing business complexity and rapid pace of change Lack of time to “learn while doing” or the margin of error to “learn by making mistakes” Growing use and importance of technology is hard for business owners who lack the skills 20
  21. 21. Most owners interviewed also used coaches and unpaid mentors to improve management and leadership skills and work through difficult business problems and decisions. • They also mentioned often turning to unpaid mentors and coaches for emotional support, especially when faced with difficult decisions. 21 Overcoming challenges through coaching
  22. 22. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
  23. 23. Small business success isn’t easy, and if anything, it is getting harder due to increasing complexity and pace of change. Here are four things you can do.
  24. 24. Small Business Recommendations Define success in your own terms and in ways supporting your broader life goals. 1 24
  25. 25. Small Business Recommendations Understand that as your business moves through stages of growth, your challenges will change. Also recognize these new challenges will require changes in how you manage your business.2 25
  26. 26. Small Business Recommendations Don’t be afraid to get help. Successful small business owners see help as a way to improve themselves and their competitiveness. 3 26
  27. 27. Small Business Recommendations Technology is playing an increasingly important role. Successful small businesses are using technology to gain competitive advantage, and you don’t want to be left behind!4 27

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