Infographic: Q4 2017 Small Business Index
Insights on small business owners in Q4 2017.
Wells Fargo/Gallup's Small Business Index resulted in an overall index score of 103 in Q4 2017. That includes a score of 60 for present situation, and 43 for future expectations.
Here's how business owners rated their current financial situation in October. 71% said their current financial situation is very or somewhat good, down from 76% in July.
Other key drivers included: 46% of small business owners said their business's revenue increased over the last year, unchanged from the previous two quarters. 39% said credit was very or somewhat easy to obtain over the last year. 65% said cash flow was very or somewhat good over the last year, up from 64% the previous two quarters.
Hiring remains a top challenge
When asked to identify the most important challenge facing their business, hiring and retaining quality staff rose to the top of the list for the second quarter in a row (16% in October, up from 13% in July).
A third of business owners report plans to hire in the next 12 months.
Small business marketing and payment trends
The latest survey found that small business owners are slowly making strides to update their online and e-commerce presence.
More small business owners reported an active presence on Facebook than any other social media platform. 53% of small business owners are active on Facebook, as compared to 34% on LinkedIn, 15% on Instagram, 15% on Twitter and 21% on others.
53% of small business owners said social media is very or somewhat important for marketing to new and existing customers, while 52% said it's important for advertising, 49% said for increasing revenues, and 45% said for communicating with customers.
In the next 12 months
51% of small business owners plan to increase their online presence through online marketing and social media sites. A third plan to increase customer interaction via online or mobile apps, and a third plan to increase their business's e-commerce presence.
When it comes to payments, some business owners are embracing new technologies. 88% accept cash or check, 82% accept mailed check, 39% accept credit and debit cards, 33% accept mobile credit and debit card payments, and 12% accept digital wallet payments.