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

1 in 10 small businesses don't want the government involved at all.

Larger companies feel better about government's current involvement, 37% of larger businesses with more than 101 employees say government does enough.

14% of leaders of smaller businesses (5-10 employees) are the most likely to want no government involvement.

50% | No, government doesn't do enough 24% | Yes, government does enough
17% | Undecided 10% | I don't want the government involved

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

How the 2016 Presidential Election Will Impact Business

A Republican Win

39% expect positive impact

22% expect negative impact

39% expect no impact

A Democrat Win

34% expect positive impact

30% expect negative impact

36% expect no impact

Small business owners say their business will do better if a Republican wins the presidency in 2016.

Views on
Growth and Economy

The Top Challenges Facing U.S. Small Businesses in 2016

Hiring New Employees (50%)
Increasing Profit (45%)
Employee Healthcare (43%)
Growing Revenue (43%)
Cash Flow (36%)




Increasing profit (54%) Hiring new employees (49%) Hiring new employees (54%) Employee healthcare (50%)
Hiring new employees (47%) Growing revenue (46%) Employee healthcare (46%) Hiring new employees (50%)
Employee healthcare (38%) Increasing profit (45%) Growing revenue (42%) Increasing profit (43%)
Growing revenue (38%) Employee healthcare (42%) Increasing profit (40%) Growing revenue (42%)
Cash flow (36%) Cash flow (39%) Cash flow (34%) Cash flow (30%)

Small business owners say hiring new employees and employee healthcare will be a bigger challenge for them in 2016 than they were in 2015.

Confidence in the Economy Versus 12 Months Ago


Significantly Better


Slightly Better


No Change


Slightly Worse


Significantly Worse


Not Sure

Companies with 5-50 employees are more pessimistic about the economy.

Revenue Expectations for 2016

37% of small businesses expect more than 5% increase in revenue; only 38% expected that in 2015.

Most small businesses (32%) expect a modest revenue growth of 1-4%.

Roughly 7% of all businesses, regardless of size, expect declining revenues.

71% | Expect revenue growth 17% | Expect flat revenue 7% | Expect decline

71% of small businesses expect an increase in revenue in 2016.

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

Hire 1-2


Hire 3-5


Hire 6-10


Hire 11+


50% of all small business plan to hire employees. (Up 12% from 2015)

Views on

Revenue Invested in Marketing

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

62% 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

Email (54%)

Website (51%)

Social Media (48%)

Word of Mouth (45%)

Direct Mail (37%)

Internet Advertising (35%)

TV, Radio, and/or Print Ads (34%)

Print Collateral (32%)

SEO (25%)

Tradeshows and/or Conferences (23%)

Small businesses use a mix of online (56%) and traditional marketing tools (44%).

Word of Mouth is the top marketing tool (59%) used by businesses with 5-10 employees.

Internet advertising increases once businesses reach 51 or more employees. 25% of larger small businesses use these ads.

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 Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram have increased.

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

38% of small businesses use social media to gain likes and fans.

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

34% of small businesses use social media to solicit and respond to customers.

Most small businesses (37%) use designated business social media accounts to reach their publics.

Facebook remains the most used social media platform, but its use has decreased since 2015.

12% of small businesses outsource their marketing, public relations and advertising.

Only 80% of small businesses use social media and many continue to underutilize SEO, blogging, and video.

Views on
Information Technology

How Businesses Manage Inventory and Assets

What Small Business Use for Inventory

1% | Other 7% | Don't track inventory 15% | Manual processes (pen & paper) 16% | Inventory software or system 17% | Inventory in accounting software (Quickbooks) 19% | Don't have inventory 24% | Spreadsheet program (Excel)

48% of small businesses do not track their inventory or use a manual process.

What Small Business Use for Assets

1% | Other 6% | Not sure 9% | Don't track assets 15% | Manual processes (pen & paper) 17% | Asset software or system 23% | Tracking in accounting software (Quickbooks) 30% | Spreadsheet program (Excel)

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

44% of small businesses plan to increase IT spending in 2016.

The top IT changes businesses implemented in 2015 are updating network security, upgrading networks and replacing computer hardware.

62% of larger small businesses (101-499 employees) use or plan to use Web-based or subscription-based software; only 36% of smaller businesses (5-10 employees) do.

Just 43% of small businesses prefer to purchase software directly from the manufacturer; most prefer to purchase it through online or brick and mortar retailers.

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 second 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 1,102 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 December 9-19, 2015. The survey has a margin of error of +-3 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 229 (20.8%)
11-50 full-time employees 467 (42.4%)
51-100 full-time employees 237 (21.5%)
101-200 full-time employees 96 (8.7%)
201-499 full-time employees 73 (6.6%)

Respondent Breakdown by Industry


Responce Count (Percent)

Agriculture 30 (2.7%)
Banking/Financial 35 (3.2%)
Construction 115 (10.4%)
Education 69 (6.3%)
Energy (Oil, gas, electricity) 9 (0.8%)
Healthcare 118 (10.7%)
Hospitality/Entertainment 66 (6.0%)
Information Technology 84 (7.6%)
Manufacturing 73 (6.6%)
Professional Services (Accounting, legal, consulting, etc.) 143 (13.0%)
Repair/Installation Services 26 (2.4%)
Retail 127 (11.5%)
Warehousing, Logistics, Distribution 39 (3.5%)
Other 168 (15.2%)