More Small Business Owners Ditching Cautious Approach to Expansion

No small business owner wants to see the size of their companies stagnate for very long, and as such many are usually targeting ways in which they can grow their enterprises. However, in recent months it seems that more entrepreneurs are trying to do so more aggressively than they might have in the past.

Today, 32 percent of small business owners say that they’re making their growth a top priority going forward, according to the Fall 2013 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor survey. Data suggests that this is going to happen in a number of ways; for one thing, 35 percent of owners say they plan to hire more workers, up from 29 percent in the same survey a year ago. Likewise, 54 percent plan to make more capital investments, an increase from 49 percent.

Many of these changes in plans may have come because companies are a little more flush these days, the report said. Currently, only 52 percent of owners say that they’re having difficulties with their cash flow, down from nearly three in five just six months ago. Many are also less concerned about the state of the economy, as only a quarter think it’s still in a recession, down from 30 percent at the start of spring and 36 percent a year ago.

“Small business owners appear poised to flip the switch to growth mode,” said Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN. “Business owners are getting more targeted in their approach to building customer demand and an increasing number are using analytics to better understand their customers and social media to drive sales.”

Interestingly, the survey also found that half of owners might not be doing all they can to boost their chances for growth by not engaging in social media, the report said. Those that do, however, are getting far more active in these efforts; 71 percent use the platforms to draw in new customers, up from 57 percent a year ago, and 59 percent use it to drive sales, which is an increase from 46 percent.

Owners looking to shore up their financial standings so they can begin to expand their companies may want to look into finding more affordable small business insurance. Cutting costs for general liability insurance, or coverage for workers’ compensation, could go a long way toward saving businesses money over the course of the year.