What Are Small Businesses Planning for 2015?

What is your small business planning for 2015 and beyond?

A new survey, Capital One’s quarterly Spark Business Barometer, has the skinny on small business expectations for the New Year—and what they found might make you want to break out the holiday noisemakers and throw confetti.

Overall, small businesses are more optimistic than last year and are backing up that optimism with cold, hard cash. As 2014 ended, entrepreneurs were focusing on giving back, making charitable donations and volunteering in the community—more so than in the recent past.

Not only are small business owners feeling flush enough to make donations, they’re also feeling confident enough to make investments in their own businesses.

That doesn’t mean entrepreneurs are spendthrifts. On the contrary, they’re still looking for ways to cut expenses. However, it’s not their main focus. Just 13 percent say improving their margins through better cash and financial management is their number-one business goal in 2015.

Instead of skimping and cutting back, entrepreneurs are energetically reinvesting in their businesses for 2015.

Almost half (46 percent) say they will increase employee wages and salaries in 2015; 33 percent will spend more on employee training and more than one-fourth plan to hire new employees. 

No wonder small business owners are ready to spend: Nearly half saw their sales increase in the past year, and they’re confident that growth will continue. The majority (57 percent) say current business conditions are good or excellent; 49 percent are optimistic about the national economy in 2015; and 62 percent are optimistic about their local economies. 

Small business owners’ biggest priorities for 2015 are attracting more customers; doing more marketing and advertising to increase sales; and boosting profits through better cash flow management.

To attain those goals, where exactly are entrepreneurs planning to invest? The top areas are:

  • Hardware and software (29 percent)
  • Social media (28 percent)
  • Online advertising (26 percent)

I think these investments make a lot of sense. All three require relatively small investments to pay off in big ways. If you haven’t already made a plan for growth in 2015, now’s the time to compare your goals to those of the entrepreneurs in this survey and see how you measure up.

Need help fine-tuning your 2015 business plan? Visit www.score.org to talk to the experts at SCORE.

Rieva Lesonsky
<p> Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. <br /> <a href="http://www.growbizmedia.com/" target="_blank" title="GrowBizMedia">GrowBizMedia.com</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/rieva" target="_blank" title="Rieva on Twitter">@rieva</a> | <a href="https://www.score.org/author/Rieva-Lesonsky/all-posts" title="blogs by Rieva">More from Rieva</a></p>


Like I mentioned when

Like I mentioned when enjoying this share on my G+ page, it may be a little selfish of me to be excited about the prospect of entrepreneurs appreciating the importance of a strong presence on the Internet, particularly when it comes to Social Media. After I read the "Humanize" (Notter & Grant, 2011), I realized how socially-responsible our business persona must become in order to be widely accepted and appreciated by current and future clients/customers. So appreciate SCORE, and my many knowledgeable (and heart-based) mentors here at #SLVELP :-)

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