(BPT) – Small business owners can easily get caught up in the December rush. But once the holiday sparkle fades, business owners and entrepreneurs will need to refocus and make decisions likely to impact their business in 2015.
Before coming to any conclusions, entrepreneurs should be aware of some business revelations uncovered by the Q3 Spark Business Barometer while they feverishly plan during the last few weeks of the year.
Women and millennials’ optimism will drive sales: Do you know an entrepreneur who is skyrocketing to the top? Surveys show that there is a good chance that person is a millennial or a woman. The Q3 Spark Business Barometer indicates that millennial and women business owners are seeing improved sales, and tend to be more optimistic about financial conditions and business prospects, as well as the economy, compared to other generations and male counterparts. Entrepreneurs should seek out diverse points of view from their millennial and female counterparts; a new perspective may help tackle a long-standing challenge or identify a new opportunity.
Employees will be better compensated: The cost of doing business – and doing it well – will continue to rise in 2015. The good news for workers at local businesses is that employers have a renewed focus on rewarding and growing talented workers. Employees can expect to see higher salaries and better training in 2015. Nearly half (46 percent) of small business owners plan to increase funding for employee salaries, while a third (33 percent) plan to spend more on employee training. Employers that have struggled to win and retain top talent should consider investing more in their training and compensation policies. A relatively small investment can pay dividends in worker productivity.
Retirement plans will help business owners attract and retain employees: Where are business owners not investing? Retirement plans. Growth of retirement planning adoption has remained static, as only 24 percent of business owners offered this benefit in 2013 and 2014. However, businesses should realize that replacing an employee can often cost more than investing in current talent. Those looking to attract the best employees should consider offering retirement plans to compete with other employers – you can even save some extra money during tax time by implementing a plan before the year ends!
Main Street will adapt to Silicon Valley: Entrepreneurs recognize that technology can help them streamline their operations, grow their businesses and even cut costs – and they are investing accordingly. According to the survey, nearly a third (29 percent) of small business owners plan to increase spending on hardware and software next year, while 16 percent will invest more in mobile payment technology. Entrepreneurs should consult a technology expert who can advise on the best hardware, software and solution investments that will help grow their business.
As the business landscape shifts constantly, business owners should seek out advice from peers and industry experts. Resources are available to provide businesses with valuable insight on the opportunities and challenges affecting the business community.