This release was posted at the Amex site and provides some highlights of two surveys simultaneously conducted amongst both small businesses and consumers in the U.S. The surveys are in support of what Amex is referring to as the inaugural American Express Entrepreneurial Spirit Trendex. For readers’ edification, the SME qualification for the survey was to have revenues between $500 thousand and $300 million.
‘The survey of 1,000 small and mid-sized business owners and 1,000 consumers reveals that despite the economic downturn and the ways in which the pandemic has changed many aspects of life and business, 81% of business owners polled still believe the benefits of owning their own business outweigh the challenges. When asked about the top benefits of running their own business, respondents cited financial stability (89%), being their own boss (88%), turning a passion into a business (86%), creating jobs (85%) and the flexibility to set their own hours (85%).’
These would seem to be regarded as generally characteristic of small business owners, so it’s likely not too surprising to many readers, despite the 2020 difficulties. We would expect there to be quite some differences between both vertical industries (think travel and entertainment) and the revenue size sub-segments, but we do not have access to the cross tabs, so the overall conclusions are broadly applied. For those thinking that all is gloom and doom, this survey suggests otherwise.
One thing that we know from the numerous virtual events we have attended during the past two months is that there is a lot of resilience and adaptation going on, which fits in with small business owners anyway, who constantly face problems even in normal times. The Amex survey reveals that pivoting to e-commerce products and services is one of those adaptations occurring among SMEs. The consumer portion of the survey was designed to help the SMEs understand what priorities are changing among their customers and aid in their decision making during (and for some time after) the pandemic. Some other areas are addressed as well, which are also likely not too surprising under the circumstances.
‘Small and mid-sized business owners are seeking resources to navigate these unprecedented times. The top resources business owners would find helpful are: virtual business conferences/webinars (47%), virtual networking events (44%), advice and resources about leading through a crisis (44%) and learning ways to de-stress and stay mindful (42%)….Beyond resources, business owners said right now they are looking for support with: identifying new growth opportunities (44%), marketing, branding and social media (41%), managing their cash flow (37%), flexible payment terms for expenses (34%) and knowledge about accessing capital (33%).
So worth a read and perhaps some further detail will be forthcoming. One other interesting thing about the information provided was that only 21% of responders expect their businesses to recover in less than one year. This again is likely to have some clear differences by vertical and size. So the spirit remains high and we will see how the reality plays out.
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group