Economy Tanking for Small Businesses? Think Again - Infographic

Written by: PeopleKeep Team
Published on February 11, 2015.

If you think the small business  economy is tanking, you're not alone. This is a common thought. However, a recent survey found just the opposite - that 38% of small business owners plan to hire and of those 46 percent plan to hire six employees. As such, Wasp Barcode Technologies has conducted a survey to give small business owners a good look into what 2015’s small business economy may be like. This article is a brief summary of some of the findings.

The study conducted by Wasp Barcode Technologies involved 1,088 respondents. Ninety-seven percent of participants have headquarters in the U.S., and 100 percent are involved in decision making for their business.

Key Data Findings

  • 47 percent have increased confidence in the economy

  • 57 percent  expect revenue growth in 2015

  • 38 percent plan to hire, of those 46 percent plan to hire six employees

  • 56 percent invest less than three percent of their revenues in marketing--only five percent invest more than 11% of their revenue in marketing

  • 62 percent have two or fewer marketing staff (42 percent have zero)

Confidence in the Economy

In comparison to last year, it appears small business owners are more hopeful. The majority of participants (35 percent) said we are in a “Slightly Better” place. However, companies with 11-50 employees are more pessimistic about the economy than companies with more than 50 employees.

Anticipated Revenue Growth in 2015

Though smaller companies were pessimistic about the economy, 57 percent of participants said they are expecting revenue growth -- an optimistic number indeed. 26 percent said they are expecting revenue to go without change and a low nine percent said they think revenue is going to decrease in 2015.

The study also revealed that 41 percent of participants said they expect at least a five percent increase this year in revenue. And in order to achieve a five percent growth, 56 percent say they'll "improve existing customer experience and retention", 22 percent say they'll "launch new products and services", and 20 percent say they'll "invest in training or tools to improve employee productivity."

Business Challenges

Just as smaller companies (11-50) were pessimistic about revenue growth for 2015, the study showed that the biggest challenge (48 percent) for them would be “Growing Revenue.” The next biggest challenge was “Increasing Profit” (43 percent), followed by “Cash Flow” (42 percent).

It appears “Hiring Employees” (29 percent) and “Raising Capital/Funding” (21 percent) are not seen as too big of a hurdle for smaller companies for 2015. However, companies with 51-100 employees placed “Hiring Employees” as their second biggest concern (45 percent). Companies with 101-499 employees placed “Hiring Employees” as their biggest concern for 2015 (56%).

Staffing Plans

Speaking of hiring, the data showed that 38 percent of the companies surveyed were planning on hiring employees in 2015. Of the 38 percent planning to hire, 50 percent plan to hire anywhere from one to five employees and 46 percent plan to hire six or more employees.

Marketing Investments

When it comes to marketing, 56 percent of the surveyed companies invest less than three percent and 34 percent invest more than four percent into marketing. Product companies will typically invest a greater percentage of revenue that non-product companies. Of those companies, 49 percent will invest less than three percent, while 42 percent will invest more than four percent.

Additionally, the data revealed that 61 percent of the surveyed companies use social media as a marketing tool, 46 percent use email marketing, 37 percent use printer advertisements, and 36 percent use press releases. At the bottom half of marketing tools used were internet pay per click (12 percent), product videos (12 percent), outsourced public relations firm ( nine percent), and five percent utilized telemarketing services.


Though hard numbers and data are difficult to find when it comes to the small business economy, the Wasp Barcode Technologies study provides a well-rounded look at what small business owners can expect in 2015. Though smaller-sized businesses (11-50) are somewhat pessimistic about the economy in 2015, overall, most companies surveyed are optimistic about the future.

The full Wasp Barcode Technologies infographic can be found here while the full study can be found here.

What do you think about the state of the small business economy based on the survey’s findings? Comment below.

See related articles:

The Top Ways Small Businesses Recruit Employees

5 Easy Tips for Hiring the Best Employees

Infographic - Small Business Health Insurance Trends

4 Small Business HR and Hiring Trends Owners Need to Know for 2014

Originally published on February 11, 2015. Last updated February 11, 2015.


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