Lessons from Welcomemat Services’ Ecosystem Survey
How can we help small businesses succeed?
This is the question that drives our decisions here, from the ground up. Will this new idea help small businesses succeed? If not, scrap the idea – it’s not what we’re about. What we are about is using data to drive innovation that (you guessed it) helps our clients succeed. In an effort to better understand the ways that Welcomemat can reach that goal and help our clients to be the best they can, we go straight to the source to find out more about their “ecosystem,” the environment in which their business operates. The more insight we have into the world in which our clients live, the better we can serve their needs.
Welcomemat’s 2016 Ecosystem Survey focused in on giving us a clear, focused picture of the world in which our clients live. This picture has been used to fuel our work: new product launches and franchisee training, as well as our content focus on social media and our blog have all seen subtle directional shifts based on this data.
Participants in the survey included SMBs across the country. Some were locally owned non-franchised, and some were locally owned franchise businesses. Those interviewed were owners and co-owners of these businesses, whose years in business averaged 8.7 years. These businesses had an average sale of $31 and included, for example, restaurants, car washes, and home service businesses.
When asked, we found that the biggest challenges faced by small business owners had the following breakdown:
45% – hiring
30% – training
15% – marketing
9% – retention
Of the businesses surveyed, 76% belonged to some local community association such as their local Chamber of Commerce, demonstrating SMBs’ tendency toward putting down roots in the local community.
In addition, it’s no wonder that marketing is a top issue for SMB owners:
91% of all SMBs were trying to do something on the social media side, but only 14% were aware of their conversion costs for a new customer.
From the survey results and data compiled, Welcomemat was able to draw out 3 business fundamentals that successful small businesses demonstrate:
- Great SMBs use their marketing to drive more quality customer trials, focusing on potential customers who have the highest likelihood of becoming loyal to the business.
- Great SMBs leverage appropriate communication to remain top-of-mind with their loyal customers, often leading to more frequent purchases within the existing customer base.
- Great SMBs are intentional about projecting and maintaining a positive image within their community, connecting to their local areas and ensuring that their reputation is spotless both in their physical and digital spaces.
These 3 fundamentals are the tried-and-true heartbeat of our client SMBs – ways in which our clients succeed. The Ecosystem survey is driving Welcomemat’s next steps as we light new paths for our clients in 2017!