Recently American Express conducted a study that showed the economic crisis taking its toll on small business owners and their outlook. The company just sponsored another online survey of 602 small business owners/managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees (conducted 10/6-10/7) to measure the shift in attitudes and behaviors based on a deteriorating situation.
Here are some of the results:
There’s a palpable gloom in these survey findings. And even though the sample was relatively small (n=602) I’m certain these responses are fairly representative of the mood and experience among US SMBs right now.
In my mind the key findings are:
- More than three-fourths (79%) of respondents are seeing sales decrease
- More than half (52%) are “cutting back or delaying marketing initiatives”
- 62% expect the economy to negatively impact them (44%) or force them out of business entirely (18%)
These circumstances could combine to cause SMBs cut out more costly marketing initiatives (e.g., traditional media in favor of online) or it could reinforce the inertia of what they’re currently doing (traditional media) and cause them to hold off on unproven “experiments” like online.