Increase Profitability

Infographic: Status Check: Is Your Business on Track?

Status Check: Is Your Business On Track?

Find out how your numbers stack up to your peers

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States (Source 1). While every business is unique, you may be wondering where you stand in relation. Learn how your company’s growth, marketing tactics and tech savvy compare to others.

Section 1: Aiming to Expand

Once business owners can rely on steady (or increasing) cash flow, many set their sights on the next frontier: expansion.

37 percent of small businesses have recently seen their sales or revenues increase. 32 percent of small business have recently seen their sales or revenues decrease. 31 percent of small business have recently seen their sales or revenues stay the same. (Source 2)

57 percent of small businesses expect sales to increase in the near future, and 70 percent expect growth or already are growing. 72 percent feel confident about the future of their business. (Source 2)

43 percent of businesses are looking to boost growth by improving existing customer experience and retention. 31 percent of businesses are looking to boost growth by launching new products or services. 30 percent of businesses are looking to boost growth by expanding into new markets. 29 percent of businesses are looking to boost growth by hiring new employees. 28 percent of businesses are looking to boost growth by investing in new customer acquisition activities and methods. 27 percent of businesses are looking to boost growth by investing in training or tools to improve employee productivity. 9 percent of businesses are looking to boost growth by opening new stores, sites facilities. 4 percent of businesses are looking to boost growth by using other strategies. (Source 3)

While feeling confident in the future, 50 percent of small businesses see their top challenge as hiring new employees. 45 percent see their top challenge as increasing profit. 43 percent see their top challenge as employee healthcare. 43 percent see their top challenge as growing revenue. 36 percent see their top challenge as cash flow. (Source 3)

Section 2: It’s a Numbers Game

More than half of small businesses employ five or fewer full-time personnel. (Source 2) 33 percent of small business owners expect their number of employees to increase. 8 percent of small business owners expect their number of employees to decrease. 58 percent of small business owners expect their number of employees to stay the same. (Source 2)

21 percent of companies looking to expand employees plan to hire 1 to 2 employees. 35 percent of companies looking to expand employees plan to hire 3 to 5 employees. 26 percent of companies looking to expand employees plan to hire 6 to 10 employees. 16 percent of companies looking to expand employees plan to hire 11 or more employees. (Source 3)

Section 3: Spreading the Word

Whether you’re looking to drive sales, build your name recognition or just keep your current customers satisfied, marketing is key.

46.8 percent of marketing efforts are completed by small business owners themselves, with an additional 23.5 percent using someone else on their team. Only 6 percent exclusively use a contractor, agency or third party. (Source 4)

9 percent of companies are currently investing no revenue in marketing strategy. 25 percent of companies are currently investing 1 to 3 percent of revenue in marketing strategy. 29 percent of companies are currently investing 4 to 6 percent of revenue in marketing strategy. 24 percent of companies are currently investing 7 to 10 percent of revenue in marketing strategy. 9 percent of companies are currently investing 11 percent or more of revenue in marketing strategy. 5 percent of companies are not sure how much revenue they are investing in marketing strategy. (Source 3)

51.3 percent of small businesses say the goal of digital marketing is to drive sales. (Source 4)

72 percent of business use their website as a top marking tool. 43 percent use digital advertising and social media as a top marketing tool. 40 percent use email marketing as a top marketing tool. 30 percent use print advertising and direct mail as a top marketing tool. 26 percent use landing pages or purpose-specific web pages as a top marketing tool. 22 percent use telemarketing and in-person marketing as a top marketing tool. 13 percent do not use any of the above as a top marketing tool. (Source 4)

In order to reach customers, 57.8 percent of companies are creating content on social media. 42.6 percent are creating emails. 36.4 percent are creating blogs posts or articles. 27.8 percent are creating other kinds of content. 22.6 percent are creating no content. 19.9 percent are creating content via direct mail. 16 percent are creating downloadable content on web pages. (Source 4)

Section 4: Tapping Into Technology

Technology gives small businesses the opportunity to be competitive with larger companies.

53 percent of small business sales teams are currently using analytics. Top small business sales teams are 2.2 times more likely to be using predictive analytics to drive their business. (Source 5)

62 percent of small businesses are using cloud-based services. (Source 6)

48 percent of small businesses use a manual process to track inventory or do not track it at all, compared to 33 percent of those who use accounting or inventory software. (Source 3)

54 percent of small businesses have seen mobile marketing, such as SMS, push notifications, mobile apps or location-based marketing, effectively integrated into their overall strategy. (Source 5)

Sources:

Source 1: “United States Small Business Economic Profile,” 2016, U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy

Source 2: “2016 Mid-Year Economic Report,” July 2016, National Small Business Association

Source 3: “State of Small Business Report,” 2016, Wasp Barcode Technologies

Source 4: “2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report,” 2016, Infusionsoft & LeadPages

Source 5: “Special Report: Benchmarks for Small Business Growth,” 2016, Salesforce

Source 6: “Future of Small Business Report,” October 2016, Intuit QuickBooks

Learn what’s right for your business

Visit SunTrust’s Small Business Best Practices Guide for a straightforward checklist of best practices in six important areas of financial management, including increasing your profitability.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

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