As the holiday shopping season gets underway, small business owners are enjoying the gift of a recovering economy. Nearly three-fourths of entrepreneurs in a survey by online small business community Manta feel positive about their upcoming sales, and two-thirds say their sales are already steady or improving.
But being small business owners, of course we still aren’t satisfied. What “gifts” would entrepreneurs like to receive that would help them run better businesses in 2015? When Manta asked entrepreneurs for their holiday business “wish lists,” respondents identified five main categories of gifts: business equipment, money (loans or cash), more business/new clients, marketing and advertising and more/better employees.
Across these categories, the top ten holiday wish list items for small businesses are:
- New computer
- Ad space/free advertising
- Access to a social media guru
- New clients or customers
- Money or a gift certificate to be used for business purposes
- Branding advice
- An introduction to new employees
- SEO advice
“A clone of myself” and “the gift of time” were two other requests I think most entrepreneurs can relate to.
How can you make these business wishes come true?
- Plan now for technology investments. The survey found business owners are avidly using new payment technologies such as Square. Consider how a smartphone, tablet or new computer could increase your efficiency, enable you to capture more sales or improve your presentations and client interactions, and you may see that it will quickly pay for itself.
- Get serious about getting financing. Are you using accounting tools such as QuickBooks to their fullest extent? More than just bookkeeping basics, online accounting programs that let you easily create reports and spreadsheets and monitor cash flow can enable you to plan better for working capital needs. If you expect to need an infusion of capital, start now to investigate your options.
- Tap the power of online marketing. Social media technology is the number-one area where small business owners plan to invest for the coming months; however, they still want guidance from social media gurus as well as help with SEO. The world of online marketing changes seemingly by the hour, so it’s easy to get confused.
Fortunately, you have access to someone who can help with all of the above: your SCORE mentor. If you don’t have a mentor yet, visit www.score.org to get matched with an expert who can help you with everything from technology and financing to marketing, management and sales.