Small businesses have never had such big dreams

This is the year of the small business making waves in a digital world. Service-based businesses are thriving and pushing boundaries on their search for better customer-based resources, tools, and integrated technologies to help them scale and grow. There’s no telling what service businesses can’t do online.

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With small businesses on the rise in 2017, business owners are adapting to the times and taking advantage of the tools and technologies available.

And in an increasingly digital world, businesses have to be more tuned in than ever to what their customers want and how they want to get it. Respondents have big plans for their business growth in 2017. With the 2017 Small Business Outlook for Service Industries, we looked into what’s driving them to be better than before—for themselves and their customers.

How did we do it?

We surveyed more than 600 service-based business owners in the United States, and had them weigh in on everything from expected revenue growth, to areas they plan to increase time and money, and how they will use technology to expand their businesses in 2017.


More than half of respondents said their business grew anywhere between 5%- 15% in 2016. And the majority responded that anticipated growth for 2017 will be in that same range.

Growing revenue and improving cash flow were reported as the major challenges owners are looking at for 2017.

An overwhelming majority of business owners understand how customers are discovering their businesses – and how they’re generating new business.

Respondents are using new tools and technologies available for business operations. They use multiple tools to manage day-to-day functions and tasks like finance, marketing, and communications.

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What are the biggest revenue hurdles for SMBs in 2017?

When asked about their challenges for the upcoming year, 38% of respondents said growing revenue was their top priority. Improving cash flow was a close second, coming in at 27%, indicating that businesses are aiming to break through the stagnancy and make significant gains in 2017.

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How much did they grow in 2016? And what’s anticipated for 2017?

In the previous year, the majority (48%) of business owners reported growth of between 5%-15%. And 37% of respondents anticipate growth of 10% or more in 2017. The emphasis on growth is further evident by where respondents plan to increase resource investment:

plan to invest heavily in marketing

plan to introduce new service offerings and 30% plan to introduce new products

will be hiring

plan to purchase new software or technology, edging out hardware expenditures by 6%

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How are small businesses reaching their customers?

Despite all the technology at our fingertips, in person and phone interactions remain the preferred method of engaging with customers.

These customers repay them with word-of-mouth advertising, which accounts for 83% of new business generated. Social media ranked second, generating 54% of new business.

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What tools are they using to enhance their business?

The SaaS tools that service business owners can’t live without include:

Learn how PaySimple can help take your business to the next level