Kabbage Releases Research: On Building Successful Small Businesses

Kabbage Inc., a global financial services, tech and data platform serving small businesses, released new data reporting on the similarities that connect all small business owners (SBOs), including personal sacrifices, professional challenges and growth expectations. Kabbage now has 125,000 small business customers, reportedly the largest customer base in the small business online lending industry. Featuring responses from 400 SBOs, the data shows more than 67 percent expect to increase revenues by the end of 2017, with more than half anticipating an increase of 10 percent or higher. The findings demonstrate work-life-balance commonalities across SBOs and illustrate what it takes to build a business, irrespective of industry.

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our economy, and they deserve an enormous amount of gratitude,” explained Kabbage Chief Revenue Officer Victoria Treyger. “These are the individuals who take service calls at midnight on Christmas Eve, work long hours and forgo what many Americans take for granted. They define hustle and motivation and go to great lengths to support themselves, their families and their communities.”

In partnership with Bredin, a leading small-business market research firm, Kabbage polled small business owners across industries, including retail, education, manufacturing, food and beverage, healthcare, automotive, energy and finance. The number one sacrifice SBOs make each year is not taking a proper vacation. Sixty percent said they take only one vacation per year; 23 percent take fewer than two vacation days annually; and, when on vacation, 75 percent still work.

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SBOs also prioritize building their businesses over personal financial gain. When asked how they spend surplus cash, a greater number will invest it in their business (40 percent) rather than paying themselves (21 percent), saving for retirement (17 percent) or setting aside for personal or family investments (14 percent).

“The survey results make it clear that small business owners are willing to go to great lengths for their business, demonstrating incredible commitment and dedication,” added Treyger. “One customer specifically, Francesca Kuglen owner of HairZing (a video features her below), sacrificed nearly everything from relationships to personal savings to save her business. Her story inspired us, and we wanted to give back.”

Other survey findings include:

  • Nearly one-third (29 percent) of small business owners work more than 50 hours per week; 86 percent work on weekends.
  • Almost half (47 percent) of all SBOs use personal savings to pay for aspects of their business. This is particularly common among 25- to 34-year-olds (75 percent).
    One-third work at least three of the six major US holidays, including New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

To improve productivity and be more efficient in 2018, the data showed:

  • 36 percent of SBOs will seek ways to improve their skills.
  • 32 percent will invest in new technologies.
  • 28 percent intend to hire more employees.

“2018 will be the equalizing year when small businesses can access meaningful analytic-driven insights, giving them the same access to tools already available to larger businesses. The insights will make it easier than ever for small businesses to manage everything from cash flow and competitive analysis, to customer relationships and business productivity—which, we see from the survey, productivity is top of mind across business owners,” predicted Treyger. “Marketing is one of the top uses cases of Kabbage funds across our customer base. In 2018, we expect to see small businesses to push further into large digital and social platforms to easily control, manage and pay for hyper-localized targeting. “

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