Today, Vistaprint launched the first of what will be quarterly updates on the “Small Business Happiness” of micro businesses like you. What we wanted to find out was, despite the downturn in the economy and most of the negative numbers surrounding business in general, do you still enjoy working for yourself as compared to working for someone else? Do you still have that fire to make your business succeed and be independent, while not relying on anyone else for employment?
Over the course of the past year, we’ve gotten the sense that you as a group are resilient and exceedingly positive, but you’re also chasing your dream or passion by working for yourself. Because of that, we expected that the happiness of micro businesses would be high. You did not disappoint with the results.
In our inaugural survey of over 1,200 U.S. micro businesses (businesses with between 1-10 employees) we found that the vast majority are feeling happy about the decision to go out on their own and run their own business.
- Just over 42% described themselves as “very happy” when asked how they felt about running their business and working for themselves.
- A further 35% indicated they were “extremely happy” and wouldn’t even consider working for someone else in the near future.
What’s more encouraging is that while micro business owners are working longer hours now than they did in 2010, they have attracted more customers and are projecting to make more or the same amount of money. Results included:
- 47% of micro business owners are working more hours this year than they did last year
- 46% are on track to make more money in 2011 than they did in 2010, with a further 35% projecting to make the same amount
- 56% of micro businesses have more customers now than they did at this time in 2010
We also took the opportunity to see how you were attracting those customers and driving that bump in revenue. As it turns out, referrals are the most effective marketing tactic that you use on a regular basis, beating out such avenues as email marketing, online advertising or direct mail. It was the most popular choice, with 41% saying it was the most effective option.
As we continue to monitor and track how the micro business audience is using social media, it’s becoming increasingly more important, as it’s a relatively cheap and easy way to drive more real time referrals. Of the 65% of micro businesses using social media, facebook continues to be the dominant platform at 50%, with Twitter registering at just over 2%.
Not surprisingly, LinkedIn, a popular networking site, was listed at 7%, again tied to the referral benefits.
The question is how happy are you in running your micro business? Would you consider working for someone else right now or are you on the upward trend towards more customers and more money? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.