In this post, I’m going to share a curated list of 10 statistics that every small business owner, manager and operator should know.
These hand selected statistics will help you stay informed about the current state of the industry, assess your position within it, and paint a picture for areas of opportunity.
My selection criteria was fairly simple. They have to be interesting (the kind of statistic that makes you go “Oh, Wow!”) and they have to be actionable. So each stat has a takeaway you can put into practice right now.
Let’s get right to it.
Small business preferences
- 91% of the time consumers will choose small businesses when they provide the convenient option.
- 74% of people even look for ways to support small businesses when it’s not convenient.
- 53% of people say shopping at small businesses gives back to their communities and gives them more purpose in their shopping habits.
- 48% of people shop at small businesses for higher-quality items.
- 45% of people shop at small businesses for personalized service.
Actionable takeaway: Tap into the natural advantage of small businesses, your customers would prefer to spend with you than large corporations. Find every opportunity to participate in your local community and emphasize local customer tastes and preferences in your product and service decisions.
Place the customer first, and they’ll reward you
The stat: Over 75% of consumers said that they are willing to pay more if they receive excellent customer service from small businesses.
Actionable takeaway: Investments in customer service can pay massive dividends for small businesses. Think about your current customer experience and ways that it can be improved, what additional opportunities are there to delight customers? The other angle is your own employees, are you hiring the right people and giving them the appropriate training and incentives?
Recurring customers spend 67% more
The stat: On average, returning customers spend 67% more than first time customers.
Actionable takeaway: Energy and resources put into effectively encouraging repeat customers is a high value activity. Every small business has levers they can pull to increase returning customers. Identify them, and relentlessly focus on them every day.
Online customer reviews drive revenue
The stat: One stat that really stood out was that improving customer reviews by half a point can boost restaurant revenues by 5% to 9%.
Actionable takeaway: This is a great reason to spend time optimizing your small businesses online presence.
Top performers invest in digital experience
- One study found that 92% of all top-performing small businesses offered mobile ordering and loyalty rewards programs, or a combination of both.
- Over 50% of small business owners think that a mobile payment option is a must-have technology for diners.
- 34% of people say that the availability of contactless or mobile payment options are important technologies during and after COVID-19.
Actionable takeaway: Online and touchless ordering and delivery have seen massive spikes. Small businesses that invest in the necessary hardware and software to support online order and delivery, touchless kiosks, and other safety measures will have advantages over their competition.
Enhancing your business with investments in digital experience can enhance the customer experience, and improve your operational efficiency. A win-win. Which customer facing touchpoints can you digitize?
Marketing is often counterintuitive
The stat: Small businesses with fewer than 10,000 Facebook followers that publish over 60 times per month get 60% fewer clicks per post than businesses that post less than five times per month.
Actionable takeaway: Less can be more when it comes to marketing. Don’t just do random activities that end up being the same as yelling into a vortex. Have a strategy and a plan and think of ways to optimize your marketing by focusing on what really matters.
Employee turnover hurts the bottom line
- Employee turnover is at an all time high.
- It can cost $2,000 to hire and train a new staff member
- It can cost up to $15,000 to hire and train a new manager.
Actionable takeaway: It’s striking that employee turnover is at an all time high, especially when the cost of replacing employees is $2K for staff and $15K for a manager. Top owners and managers spend time hiring and training the right employees, and putting in place the structure to keep them.
(The right) investments in technology pay big dividends
- Integrating a Point-of-Sale (POS) system to a booking management system can boost online reviews by 0.25 points and create 2% more return customers.
- Small companies that fully utilize technology earn 200% more revenue per employee, experienced nearly 4x the revenue growth annually, and were almost 3x more likely to create jobs in the next year.
Actionable takeaway: Technology and the data it provides have been massive enablers for the top performing small businesses. Having the right systems in place, with the right integrations is a true game changer.
Cash is (still) king
The stat: The average small business with monthly expenses over $10,000 only had enough savings to last roughly two weeks.
Actionable takeaway: Cash is the lifeblood of business and building a buffer is a good way to give yourself more time and less stress.
It’s a tough slog
- 81% of business owners work nights, and 89% work weekends.
- Most small business owners work between 40 and 49 hours per week.
Actionable takeaway: Small business is hard work, be prepared for it and if you’re going to do it, make sure you do it right.
Owners, managers and operators must always be on the lookout for trends and developments in the wider industry. Both as a source of threats and for upcoming opportunities. I believe industry statistics are a good place to start looking, and hope they are valuable to you.
I hope you’ve found something to put into action today!
Before you go...
We all know that small business is about doing the little things right.
The little optimisations, the high-impact tweaks and the 1% gains you can make to your business to make it a little better, a little more profitable and even a little bit more pleasant to run.
I have interviewed 500+ business owners, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to improve their business. There are three that stand out above the rest and I want to share them with you.
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