By Rieva Lesonsky
The economy is improving, just in time for the holiday shopping season to get rolling. While that’s a nice gift for small business owners, they’re still not satisfied. (What entrepreneur ever is?) A recent poll by Manta, an online small business community, asked small business owners what they’d like to get as gifts for their businesses this year
Although nearly three-fourths of business owners feel very positive about their upcoming sales, and two-thirds say their sales are already steady or improving, there’s still room for improvement. Respondents in the survey identified five main categories of gifts they’d like to get: business equipment, money (loans or cash), more business/new clients, marketing and advertising and more/better employees.
Across these categories, the top 10 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 (I know I can!).
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.
- Get organized. Use technology tools and apps to manage your time better and keep all your information in one place. Jettison the non-critical tasks that eat up your time, or delegate them to employees (real or virtual).
A great way to get help with all of the above is to contact SCORE or your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). These organizations (both clients of my company) do amazing work offering expert consulting services to small business owners for little or no cost. If you haven’t already, check them out and give yourself the gift of getting help.