State of Small Business Report
Over 1,100 U.S. Small Businesses Surveyed

Presented by Wasp Barcode Technologies

Views on
Government Influence

How Government Involvement is Perceived by Small Businesses

69% of SMBs anticipate revenue growth in 2017

50% SMBs think government does not do enough to support small business

14% businesses (size 5-10 employees) vs. 38% businesses (size 101-499 employees) think the government does enough for SMB

50% | No, government doesn't do enough 22% | Yes, government does enough
15% | Undecided 13% | I don't want the government involved

Half of all small business say the government is not doing enough to support them.

Impact of New President on Small Business Growth

32% | Neither positive or negative 31% | Positive 18% | Extremely positive 11% | Negative 8% | Extremely negative

In 2016, small business owners said their business will do better if a Republican won the presidency.

Views on
Growth and Economy

The Top Challenges Facing U.S. Small Businesses in 2017

Hiring New Employees (50%)
Increasing Profit (46%)
Employee Healthcare (44%)
Growing Revenue (39%)
Cash Flow (34%)




Increasing profit (50%) Hiring new employees (49%) Employee healthcare (54%) Hiring new employees (56%)
Hiring new employees (48%) Increasing profit (47%) Hiring new employees (53%) Employee healthcare (51%)
Growing revenue (41%) Employee healthcare (44%) Increasing profit (40%) Increasing profit (39%)
Cash flow (38%) Growing revenue (42%) Growing revenue (33%) Growing revenue (34%)
Employee healthcare (37%) Cash flow (33%) Cash flow (33%) Cash flow (27%)

Small business owners say hiring new employees and increasing profit will be their biggest challenges in 2017.

Confidence in the Economy Versus 12 Months Ago


Significantly Better


Slightly Better


No Change


Slightly Worse


Significantly Worse


Not Sure

Companies with larger workforces are more optimistic about the economy.

Revenue Expectations for 2017

38% of small businesses expect more than 5% increase in revenue; only 37% expected that in 2016.

Most small businesses (31%) expect a modest revenue growth of 1-4%.

Roughly 10% of all businesses, regardless of size, expect declining revenues.

69% | Expect revenue growth 15% | Expect flat revenue 10% | Expect decline

69% of small businesses expect an increase in revenue in 2017.

Strategies to Improve Revenue Growth


Improve existing customer experience & retention


Invest in new customer acquisition activities & methods


Invest in training or tools to improve employee productivity


Expand into new markets


Launch new products / services


Hiring new employees


Open new stores / sites / facilities


Other strategies

Small businesses say improving existing customer experience and retention is their top strategy for revenue growth.

Employee and Staffing Plans

More than half (52%) of SMBs are planning to hire in 2017. Of those hiring:

Hiring 1-2


Hiring 3-5


Hiring 6-10


Hiring 11+


Views on

Revenue Invested in Marketing

Not Sure 0% Investment 1-3% Investment 4-6% Investment 7-10% Investment 11%+ Investment

54% of small businesses invest 4% or more of their revenue in marketing, while roughly 1 in 10 does not invest.

The Top 10 Marketing Tools Used by Small Businesses

Website (56%)

Email (50%)

Social Media (48%)

Word of Mouth (48%)

Print Collateral (37%)

Internet Advertising (34%)

Direct Mail (33%)

TV, Radio, and/or Print Ads (29%)

SEO (28%)

Tradeshows and/or Conferences (23%)

76% of companies involve their employees in marketing efforts.

42% of companies promote a specific profuct or service using social media.

36% of companies offer videos to watch on their website.

How Small Businesses Use Their Websites


Of small business websites allow visitors to purchase goods or services


Of small business websites allow visitors to apply for jobs


Of small business websites allow visitors to reach sales or customer service


Of small business websites have the company location, phone number and email addresses


Of small business websites contain information about the company’s goods and services

Fast Facts About Small Business Digital Marketing

Use of LinkedIn and Instagram have increased. Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook have decreased.

45% of small businesses use social media to sell to potential customers.

33% of small businesses use social media to gain likes and fans.

54% of small businesses outsource graphic design and website design.

32% of small businesses use social media to solicit or respond to customers' feedback.

37% of small businesses use designated business social media accounts to reach their audience.

Even with the increase in new social media tools, Facebook remains the most used social media platform for SMBs, but its use has decreased since 2016.

14% of small businesses outsource their marketing, public relations and advertising.

Only 77% of small businesses use social media to promote and grow their business.

Views on
Information Technology

How Businesses Manage Inventory and Assets

What Small Business Use for Inventory

2% | Other 8% | Don't track inventory 14% | Manual processes (pen & paper) 18% | Inventory software or system 15% | Inventory in accounting software (Quickbooks) 24% | Don't have inventory 21% | Spreadsheet program (Excel)

43% of small businesses do not track their inventory or use a manual process.

What Small Business Use for Assets

2% | Other 6% | Not sure 11% | Don't track assets 12% | Manual processes (pen & paper) 16% | Asset software or system 22% | Tracking in accounting software (Quickbooks) 32% | Spreadsheet program (Excel)

55% of small businesses do not track assets or use a manual process.

42% of small businesses plan to increase IT spending in 2017.

The top IT changes businesses implemented in 2016 were updating network security, upgrading networks and replacing computer hardware.

57% of larger small businesses (101-499 employees) use or plan to use Web-based or subscription-based software; only 38% of smaller businesses (5-10 employees) do.

Just 34% of small businesses prefer to purchase software from brick & mortar retailers. 46% prefer to purchase it online.

By the Numbers
Who Took the Survey


1,102 Surveyed | All Own or Manage a Small Business | All Headquarterd in the U.S.

For the third year, Wasp Barcode Technologies conducted a survey to identify how small business owners felt about their growth, confidence in the economy, employment, technology use, marketing tactics, and government impact.

The State of Small Business Report research is based on a random online sample of 1,127 U.S. small business owners/managers with companies with five to 499 employees. The anonymous survey was conducted via the Internet by Survey Monkey from November 10-18, 2016. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 at the 95% level of confidence. Sikora Associates provided statistical analysis.

Respondent Breakdown by Product or Service Company

Company Size by Full-Time Employees

Responce Count (Percent)

1-4 full-time employees 0 (0.0%)
5-10 full-time employees 377 (33.45%)
11-50 full-time employees 409 (36.29%)
51-100 full-time employees 169 (15%)
101-200 full-time employees 97 (8.61%)
201-499 full-time employees 75 (6.65%)

Respondent Breakdown by Industry


Responce Count (Percent)

Agriculture 27 (2.4%)
Banking/Financial 46 (4.08%)
Construction 148 (13.13%)
Education 49 (4.35%)
Energy (Oil, gas, electricity) 10 (0.89%)
Healthcare 109 (9.67%)
Hospitality/Entertainment 59 (5.24%)
Information Technology 71 (6.3%)
Manufacturing 90 (7.99%)
Professional Services (Accounting, legal, consulting, etc.) 136 (12.07%)
Repair/Installation Services 39 (3.46%)
Retail 106 (9.41%)
Warehousing, Logistics, Distribution 52 (4.61%)
Other 185 (16.42%)