The Alternative Board surveyed hundreds of entrepreneurs to measure their outlook for the year ahead and find out how they’re staying profitable in 2017.
According to The Alternative Board’s February 2017 Small Business Pulse Survey, 95% of business owners have a positive outlook going into 2017. While a smaller portion have a positive outlook for the nation’s overall economy (85%), 62% of business owners are confident enough that they plan to increase their staff in 2017.
“Despite the political and technological changes expected for 2017, entrepreneurs feel secure enough in their leadership abilities to remain profitable and relevant,” says TAB Chief Marketing Officer Jodie Shaw. “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, as those surveyed reported it as their #1 leadership trait (47%), above passion (27%), personability (26%), and decisiveness (23%). On the opposite end of the spectrum, entrepreneurs feel they most need to improve on holding others accountable (67%), which is not too surprising considering 86% of business owners are working 40+ hours a week and likely not delegating as they should be.
“Entrepreneurs are reluctant to delegate, because they don’t have the right people and/or processes in place, enough budget, or because they simply have a hard time letting go,” says Shaw. “But trying to do everything on your own will not only burn you out, it will divert your focus from the kind of planning that’s most essential for long term business growth.”
So how are business owners planning for success in 2017? For 76% of entrepreneurs, preparing for more success in the new year means strategic planning, with the primary intentions of improving sales revenue growth (50%) and profitability (44%). For those with strategic plans, the majority (85%) intend to review and adjust their strategy quarterly or annually. As for the 24% without strategic plans, it’s not so much that they don’t see the value in them (22%), it’s just that they are “too busy” (50%).
“Strategic planning is an essential function for small business success,” adds Shaw. “The 12% of entrepreneurs who are operating without a strategic plan, because they are ‘too busy’ are likely working in their business (i.e. putting out day-to-day fires) rather than on it. The majority of business owners surveyed selected ‘fulfilling our vision, mission, and goals’ as their #1 responsibility as a leader – 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.”
The Alternative Board is an international provider of executive peer advisory boards, with over 3,000 members worldwide. For full survey results, executive summary or to schedule an interview with Jodie Shaw, contact Lynn Maleh at lynn(at)contentfac(dot)com.
About The Alternative Board
The Alternative Board helps forward-thinking business owners grow their businesses, increase profitability and improve their lives by leveraging local business advisory boards, private business coaching and proprietary strategic services.