Small business growth has been the life blood of economic turnarounds and sustainable economics for years. Thank you to The Centerfor Media Research and Infusionsoft who report through a recent Small Business Market Survey conducted by Infusionsoft, and conducted by Audience Audit, which identifies four distinct types of small business owners, the Passionate Creators group are the most active and data-focused marketers, while the Legacy Builders group are investing the least in their sales and marketing initiatives. The survey was conducted to understand the attitudes and behaviors that drive small business success.
The report describes the four profiles of small business owners, which include:
These small business owners started their business because they want the ability to control their fate, decisions, work environment, schedule and revenue. They value where they devote their time and believe owning a small business allows them the freedom to live the lifestyle they’ve always wanted.
They are more likely than the other segments to cite as important goals ‘living the life I want’, ‘being in control’ ‘reducing the amount of time I have to work’ and ‘having flexibility in my schedule to spend time with my family’
With ‘time to get everything done’ being their biggest challenge, they are more likely to use email marketing automation, bookkeeping software, ecommerce and CRM systems to help them manage their time
Most likely of all the profiles to use project management and membership site management software tools
81% work at home, the most of any category, and they are the least likely to say they’ll ever go back to a traditional job
Lindsay Bayuk, director of product Infusionsoft, and overseer of the study, says, “The freedom seekers in business want the freedom that comes with being their own boss and live the life they choose. These folks want more time. Money isn’t the only measure of success for this group.”
This group tends to value control and flexibility above all else, and prioritize time more than anything. They’re 61% more likely to use email marketing automation than other business owners
This group started their small business because they love what they do. Running their business gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride. They value the impact they are able to make for their customers and the world at large. Small business owners within the Passionate Creators profile are also the most likely of the four profiles to mentor other entrepreneurs and speak to audiences about small business.
48% stated they always knew they would run their own business
They believe passion is one of the most important qualities for small business success and are motivated to serve a target customer well
They showed the most longevity and success, ranking as the most likely to have been in business more than 10 years and the most likely to have revenue over $100,000, a sizeable group reporting revenue of over $1 million last year. They were also the most optimistic, with 71% expecting company revenue to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘much’ higher than last year
They demonstrated the most marketing sophistication, with the highest rates of marketing spending and involvement in digital marketing, social media, email lists and content marketing
They are the most likely to track financial performance vs. budget, and 70% use analytics to support decision-making, the highest level of any segment
Bayuk says that the Passionate Creators “… tend to start businesses out of a love for their craft and take great pride in doing in their companies.”
Passionate Creators were 46% more likely to spend more than $500 a month on marketing than other respondents, and are the most likely of the four groups to use CRM and marketing automation technology. This group is more likely to email their own lists and use social media for marketing. Additionally, these owners are more likely to support business and marketing decisions with analytics. Unsurprisingly, this segment generates the most revenue.
This profile resonates the cold, hard reality that sometimes running a small business is more risky than rewarding. The fear expressed within this group is rooted in the very real challenges small businesses face every day. Skeptics have significant concerns, misgivings and skepticism about the value of owning a small business.
Many believe that traditional jobs are more secure, and feel that corporate careers garner more respect than small business ownership
51% are solopreneurs, the highest of any category
They are least likely to report achieving many of the benefits associated with owning your own business, from financial security to time with family and friends
They are the most likely to have considered closing their business at 53%, and the most pessimistic about their five-year outlook
Bayuk explains that “… Struggling Survivors are distinct because they’ve considered closing their business due to the challenges they face,”
According to the study, 51% of Struggling Survivors are the sole employee at their company. This solitary management leaves little time to implement a sound marketing strategy.
Small business owners who fall into this profile see small business ownership as a practical economic choice. They believe small businesses are more ethical than larger corporations, and believe most people would start their own business if they could. They started their business to bring something new to the marketplace that no one else offers. They take tremendous pride in the business they’ve created and plan to run it for the long haul.
Business ownership provides them with a sense of stability for their future and the future of their family
They are the least likely of the four profiles to have a website, and even those that do have a site are least likely to use email, content marketing, SEO or marketing automation to generate leads
They are more likely to rely on family and friends for guidance
They are most likely to run only one business and the least likely to have considered closing or selling their business
Bayuk says “Legacy Builders are pragmatic. For them, marketing tech may be fairly new and may not be the most practical investment of time and resources.”
As implied by their title, legacy builders are in business to build familial empires, ones that they can pass down to future generations. This group are the least likely of the four groups to have a website (45%). Many legacy businesses are driven through word of mouth.