A survey conducted by Citibank, in US shows that 43 per cent of small business owners consider business conditions to be positive. This is close to double the figure in 2010. It is a great improvement since August 2010. That was when only 24 percent of small business owners surveyed reported overall positive business condition.
One third of the businesses that participated in the survey said their own business is better than it was year ago. This is an improvement from 26 percent in January. Another one third expect their business will grow by more than 10 percent this year.
It is significant that “Small business owners risk everything to pursue their dreams and are willing to do what it takes to make it.” To cash in on improving business conditions is because of “their personal sacrifices, passion and ability to adapt” to new conditions.
Fifty-three percent of the respondents said they have reinvented their business to stay intact and competitive in business. Thirty-eight percent felt the current business condition to be “extremely intense.”
While reinventing themselves , small business focused on effecting thorough changes in the products or services they offered (47%), followed by adjusting the infrastructure, including technology or staffing (24%) and improving sales and marketing (18%). 7% slashed product prices and took less profit and 3% relocated.
As regards how such a great performance was possible, for 88% of the respondents it was because of keeping abreast of the developments in their field. 70 % increased interaction time with customers. For 67% of the respondents the performance was because of updated or upgraded computers, for 52% of the participants in the survey it was the use of the Internet and social media and 51% built network of suppliers and partner companies which contributed to the performance reported.
With regard to expenditure allocated for the reinvention, for 38% of the businesses it was because of enhanced spend on capital investment including computer, inventory and facilities over the last 12 months. The funds primarily accrued from revenue and profits (75%) and personal savings (62%).
Regarding past performance, 63 percent of the businesses opined that personal stress and being accountable to everyone and everything was a great challenge. 66% of the respondents were of the view that general state of economy was the second most important challenge.
Significantly, notwithstanding the good performance, small business owner’s make significant sacrifice to thrive their business. Thus, 78% of the participant small businesses took less profit to support business, 66% paid employees instead of laying off. 70% worked more hours than usual at the cost of family time and missing vacations.
69% of the businesses used their money for self-survival, 54% business owners went without a paycheck. 23% of them have gone without pay for one year or more.
80% of the small business owners feel their employees appreciated the sacrifices. Employees of 38 percent of the business worked additional hours without pay. 18 % percent of the businesses entailed delayed paycheck to their employees.
Showing appreciation of employees was also important. Thus, 78% of the businesses offered additional time off, 74% offered bonus and 70 percent offered pay hike.
Customers have also been said to appreciate small businesses. 69% of the businesses were ‘appreciated and recognized’ for sacrifice and 87 % of the businesses were thanked by customers.
The appreciation thus shown to small business owners by employees and customers was significant in keeping them up. Small business owners, even by a simple personal gesture of good will are influenced to perform appreciably.