American small-business owners are taking a strategic approach to growing their companies, a new survey reveals. The American Express OPEN Small Business Growth Pulse says about two-thirds (65%) of owners/managers have created a formal plan for growing their businesses.
Overall, 72% of survey respondents have made growing their business a priority. To drive growth, businesses are focused on expanding into new markets (33%), diversifying products and services (33%) and increasing customers (26%). Earning greater profits was a potential growth driver cited by 23% of respondents.
When businesses aim to drive growth, they often look to their peers, according to the report. More than two in five survey respondents (41%) indicated that networking yields the greatest return for growth compared to marketing or advertising activity. About half (49%) of respondents report that they proactively seek opportunities for growth by networking with like-minded small-business owners and business experts.
Access to working capital can be crucial to growth initiatives, and owners have specific tastes about what they want when it comes to obtaining cash flow. “When considering options to help fund their business, surveyed small-business owners reported that low fees and interest are the most important factor, followed by trust and security of the provider and easy access to funds,” said Janey Whiteside, senior vice president & general manager of customer marketing & relationship management for American Express OPEN.
The American Express OPEN Small Business Growth Pulse research is based on a random online sample of 1,000 U.S. small-business owners/managers of companies with $250,000 or more in revenues and fewer than 100 employees.