Executives at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) feel confident about their company’s prospects when the economy recovers and see marketing as a key to their success, but a significant number would also appreciate more support from local and national government, according to a study commissioned by Verio and conduced by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The study, “Understanding Growth Priorities of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses,” found that despite the global recession, 83% of respondents are optimistic about their company’s long term ability to rebound when the economy improves.
Big Business Steals Limelight
Though they are sanguine about the future, 48% of SMB execs feel that local government currently is “unsupportive” or “not at all supportive” of their efforts, and 39% say the same of national government:
One-third of these individuals believe this lack of support is because small and mid-sized businesses do not attract enough attention, said Verio.? Some 28% think that the public at large perceives large enterprises – which attract more publicity and high-profile media attention – as more important, suggesting that big companies steal the limelight from smaller ones.
“The data suggests a call to action for the public sector to think about programs that may offer greater aid to these companies during this difficult economic period,” says Debra D’Agostino, deputy director in the Americas, Industry and Management Research at the EIU.
Marketing Most Key to Recovery
When asked which functions will be the most important in helping their company recover when the recession is over, the survey found that 50% selected the marketing function. Marketing received more votes than any other function:
Employees Greatest Assets
SMB execs demonstrated optimism in their own employees and leadership to ensure survival in the current economic climate, EIU found, noting that nearly three-fourths indicate that employees are their greatest supporters. Respondents also view technology as a main component of success, with 57% agreeing that it will be a competitive advantage to bring them out of the recession.
Other study findings:
- Once the economy improves, 65% of respondents expect their firms will enter into new geographic markets.
- 51% of respondents say their technology efforts will focus on improving processes and new ways to improve their business.
- 52% say internal IT departments will be most important to helping firms achieve success.
- One out of four SMBs expects the turnaround to begin in late 2009.
About the survey: The online survey was conducted in April 2009 by the EIU. The survey of 328 executives from small and medium-sized businesses worldwide was undertaken to understand how they are approaching business strategy during the global recession. Respondents represented a range of industries.