The entrepreneurial spirit is what drives small businesses, and it’s marked by dedication, determination and hard work, day after day. That spirit is alive and well, as the U.S. Census Bureau projects 17 million new businesses will launch in 2022. That’s a lot of new beginnings. From seasoned entrepreneurs with several businesses to eager side hustlers testing the waters, everyone agrees that a small business’s first year can make or break its ambitions.
At Newfold Digital, we recently crossed our one-year milestone. So, in honor of our anniversary and in recognition of the businesses we serve, we surveyed* 330 small business owners on their first year in business. This snapshot reveals that small businesses across various industries are optimistic, and fully focused on helping their customers. Here’s the full breakdown.
Word of Mouth Wins
A budding business needs to acquire customers and maintain them going forward. The majority of respondents (63%) cited word of mouth as the way most customers learned about their business in the first year, well above other common tactics like social media (13%) and paid marketing (6%).
Finding Success Online
An online presence is no longer optional. The majority (54%) of small business owners surveyed conducted at least half of their business online. Additionally, one third (33.8%) said their online presence was an important part of their first-year success, underscoring the importance of launching a business with a professional website or online store.
Focus on the Customer
One edge small business has over larger companies is their ability to connect with customers on a personal level. However, that’s something SMBs struggle with in their first year. More than 40% of respondents reported building relationships with customers as one of their biggest challenges and 45% would advise new entrepreneurs to focus on their customer in their first year. This demonstrates the importance of keeping the customer in mind with every decision made and investing time to understand their needs.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Lives On
For many small business owners, the first year is overwhelming, as they juggle priorities and establish new processes. Despite these challenges, many of our respondents said they felt fulfilled (35%) and empowered (25%) after their first year in business. What’s more, an overwhelming 77% indicated they would do it all over again if they had the choice.
The truth is that when it comes to small businesses, trends come and go, but one thing remains constant: the importance of the customer. Small business owners must have a strategy for establishing and building relationships with their customers if they are to thrive in their first year and beyond. A professional website helps small businesses reap the rewards of word-of-mouth marketing, raise awareness and potentially convert.
The Newfold Digital team understands that running a small business is a lot to handle, and we want to help you achieve your version of success, wherever you are on your journey. We’ve got your back, and we can tell you from experience: the first year might be tough but achieving your dream will make it all worth it.
*The survey was conducted by Google Survey in February of 2022. The research surveyed 330 small business owners in the United States.