SMBs Working In Their Company Or On Their Company?

According to The Alternative Board’s February 2017 Small Business Pulse Survey, 95% of business owners have a positive outlook going into 2017. While only 85% have a positive outlook for the nation’s overall economy, 62% of business owners are confident enough that they plan to increase their staff in 2017.

TAB Chief Marketing Officer Jodie Shaw says “Despite the political and technological changes expected for 2017, entrepreneurs feel secure enough in their leadership abilities to remain profitable and relevant. Of the entrepreneurs surveyed, 95% rate their leadership abilities above average.”

Positivity proves to be an important factor in making it as a business owner, says the report, as 47% of those surveyed reported it as their #1 leadership trait. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 67% of entrepreneurs feel they most need to improve on holding others accountable, which is not too surprising considering 86% of business owners are working 40+ hours a week and likely not delegating as they should be, says the report.

Shaw says “Entrepreneurs are reluctant to delegate… don’t have the right people and/or processes in place… enough budget or   have a hard time letting go… trying to do everything on your own… will divert your focus from… planning that’s most essential for long term business growth… ”

For 76% of entrepreneurs, preparing for more success in the 2017 means strategic planning, says the report, with 50% saying that their primary intentions are improving sales revenue growth, and 44% saying profitability. For those with strategic plans, 85% intend to review and adjust their strategy quarterly or annually. For the 24% without strategic plans, 22% see the value in them, though 50% say that they are “too busy.”

Shaw concludes that “… strategic planning is an essential function for small business success… 12% of entrepreneurs… operating without a strategic plan… are ‘too busy’ … (or) working in their business… rather than on it… majority of business owners surveyed selected ‘fulfilling our vision, mission, and goals’ as their #1 responsibility… over keeping customers satisfied (21%) and employees happy and productive (15%)…”

“If your company’s vision, mission, and goals are your #1 priority, strategic planning should take precedent over everyday customer and employee concerns,” Shaw says. 

For full survey results contact Lynn Maleh at

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