November 17, 2023
The start-up market is growing annually, with 33.2 million small businesses in existence across the U.S. But 20% of all new businesses close within the first year and only 34.6% make it past 10 years. What strategies should entrepreneurs execute to ensure they survive and thrive?
Entrepreneurship is alive and kicking, with two in five Americans planning to start a business this year, ensuring the startup market expands. Seventy-four percent of businesses plan to increase their marketing budget or keep it the same throughout the first half of 2023, according to Small Biz Trends. Furthermore, half of the business owners remain optimistic and plan to keep to their current expansion strategy or start a new one.
And a recent survey by Nerd Wallet found that while small businesses feel the effects of inflation and knock-on pandemic pressures, new data reveals a resilient spirit and consistent commitment to entrepreneurship:
Following on from the economic hardship unleashed post-pandemic, CMO Council launched a campaign to “Put the Whiz Back in Small Biz”, engaging with industry leadership and partners to aid the recovery of the small business sector, starting with a coalition education campaign.
The campaign vowed to assist SMBs “to know how to grow" through digital marketing skills development, new growth recovery strategies, and preferred services, product pricing and support from big brands. Large enterprises, associations, publishers and digital media channels were invited to join our coalition to "Help Small Grow Tall." Our goal is to boost the grassroots local economy by helping SMBs become digital wise to energize their varied routes to revenue.
Help Small Grow Tall activates professional sports alumni and business retirees in local communities to become ambassadors, boosters, motivators, coaches, advisors, spokespersons and even beneficiaries of the program if they are self-employed or running a micro enterprise.
The campaign is funded and supported by a coalition of big brand members of the CMO Council serving small to medium enterprises. These include category leaders in marketing/CRM, technology, office products, transportation/logistics, financial services, lending, payroll, payments, benefits, insurance, healthcare, eCommerce, and other product and service areas. The impetus for this program came from a CMO Council landmark study entitled, “Business Traction from Smarter SMB Interaction: Advancing Excellence in Enterprise SMB Marketing.”
The 51-page report included detailed findings from a 29-question online survey of more than 160 senior marketers. The full report, with best-practice interviews with marketing executives from Capital One, Cox Communications, OfficeMax, SAP, Symantec and WageWorks, found that two out of three big business brands planned to increase focus and investment in engaging small to medium-sized business (SMB) customers over the next 12 to 36 months, according to this study from the CMO Council and Penton, a leading business information services company. However, these marketers admitted to shortcomings in their ability to access customer data, intelligence and critical vertical-market insights that can improve campaign effectiveness.
Despite the opportunity that the segment clearly represents, few marketers have the dedicated resources or tools to fully exploit more effective and directed marketing engagements. Only 8 percent have a complete view of the SMB customer, but a review of data gaps reveals an even bigger challenge, namely a key deficiency in customer contact information and difficulty in identifying and connecting with actual decision makers.
In our CMO Blog, Big Brands, Small Biz, we sounded warning bells about the lack of investment in digital skills among small business: “What we can say with a good degree of certainty is, too many small businesses lack marketing skills and digital transformation acumen. They’re caught up in the pandemic’s wave of shifting consumer behavior and not prepared for digital engagement. Small businesses often fall short of delivering on the new customer experience.
On the other hand, while digital commerce is thriving, many buyers and regular customers remain loyal to small businesses, local merchants and service providers that seek to engage with consumers and deal with supply chain disruptions and price increases.”
Tips to help small business rebuild past the stimulus packages provided by many governments around the world during Covid shutdowns, was the focus of our post, “Small Businesses Face Tough Road. Help Is On the Way”.
MORE excellent evergreen content from the CMO Council’s previous publication, Peer Sphere. READ HERE.
Louise has 25 years’ experience in B2B publishing as an award-winning editor, columnist and journalist on media brands in Africa; also working with brands/NGOs as a content strategist. She is currently Editorial Director of the CMO Council; lectures in Marketing & Advertising Communications at Red & Yellow School of Creative Business in Cape Town, SA; and writes and edits retail brand blog RetailingAfrica.com. She holds a Masters in Commerce: Strategy and Organisational Dynamics, from University of KwaZulu Natal, in conjunction with Copenhagen Business School in Denmark and UK Open University.