Let’s vote. Who here is ready for the end of campaign season?
Presidential elections conjure up mixed emotions. On one hand, you’re excited about the promise of new leadership and what that could mean for your business. On the flip side, you’re hesitant to get your hopes up because historically you may not have experienced much positive change.
Regardless of whether you side with the left, right or fall somewhere in the middle, we all can agree savvy small businesses can survive and thrive regardless of who is in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. come January 20, 2017.
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Only 12 percent of slightly more than 2,000 small businesses surveyed by Manta are concerned the presidential election could hinder business growth.
Most of the small business survey respondents are focusing on issues over which the government has little direct control like increasing their business capital (29 percent) and outpacing competition (17 percent). These two particular issues were more concerning to entrepreneurs than issues like taxes (13 percent), healthcare costs (6 percent), lack of government support (6 percent) and rise in minimum wage (2 percent).
Furthermore, a similar survey of small business owners conducted by American Express indicates overall optimism and growth plans are holding steady amid the upcoming election. Hiring plans also are improving compared to just a year ago, according to the survey. Thirty-nine percent of small business owners plan to hire staff during the next six months, which is up five percentage points from last year. Insert a new concern -- recruiting the right team members. The survey findings state that for the first time since 2007, finding the right staff has emerged as the number one challenge to growth for small businesses.
Small business owners deal every day with issues like hiring and differentiating from competitors. Additionally, many small business owners believe business legislation typically benefits larger enterprises versus mom and pops. In other words, they have persevered no matter the level of government support.
Small businesses find support close to home.
Although many argue federal government could do more to support small businesses, entrepreneurs find no matter what, their communities have their backs.
In recent years, movements like Small Business Saturday have emphasized the importance for consumers in supporting businesses within their communities. For many small businesses, the momentum continues to grow as a recent consumer study conducted by Cox Business indicates that the majority of consumers (90 percent) frequent small businesses at least once a week. Nearly 50 percent are shopping small three or more times a week.
Consumers understand by supporting local businesses they also are improving the economy within their communities.
Tried and true tactics stand the election test.
Beyond community backing, small businesses that invest wisely in resources and development are more likely to succeed well beyond November 2016. The following tactics can help “foolproof” your small business:
Rally for retention: Facts support a customer-first strategy where retention is a focus. It’s widely reported that most consumers stop doing business with a company because of bad customer service. Furthermore, The White House Office of Consumer Affairs shares it is six to seven times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. With that in mind, try things like implementing or retooling your loyalty program and frequently get customer feedback via surveys so you can better personalize their collective experience.
Cultivate a positive workplace culture: Retention is also vital when it comes to employees. From lost productivity and morale, to cost of onboarding and training replacement employees, high turnover can hurt your bottom line. For this reason, small business owners should create the type of workplace where talented employees feel valued and like they can grow alongside the business. Try scheduling one-on-one meetings with members of your team to help them goal set.
Stick to your strengths: Small businesses also need to concentrate on the products and services they deliver best. Often, small businesses overextend themselves, breaking into categories without proper expertise or rolling out offerings without the right support. Concentrating your efforts on delivering quality to those in need of what your business provides will serve you best.
The ballots are in.
Ultimately, small businesses and the entrepreneurs who built them from the ground up have the wherewithal to flourish no matter the outcome of this year’s presidential election. While decisions driven by government certainly influence how small business owners will vote, they don’t completely determine a small businesses’ capability to grow. With community support and smart thinking, the opportunities are endless.