New research from Atlanta-based Kabbage, Inc., an online provider of small business loans, shows that small business optimism is at a three-year high, with 95% of small business owners surveyed expect to grow their revenue in 2015, and half of all businesses expect to grow by more than 20%. According to Kabbage, this represents a meaningful increase over the past two years when small businesses reported 76% year over year revenue growth for 2014 and 2013.
Per the survey’s findings, growth will come from investing in marketing and launching new products and services. 70% plan to expand their product offering, while 52% intend to invest in marketing. To facilitate marketing growth, small businesses are most likely to invest in social media, search, and content marketing. More than 50 percent say they will start using social media marketing in 2015.
But despite such optimism, half of all business owners continue to cite cash flow management and access to capital as their primary concerns for 2015. Access to capital is a concern for 48% of businesses, while 53% report ongoing cash flow management as their top concern. Others studies show that access to capital is the biggest hurdle facing minority- and women-owned businesses in terms of seed money and expansion.
Businesses will turn to bootstrapping and alternative funding providers like Kabbage and OnDeck to fund their growth in 2015. Only 14% plan to go to traditional banks and apply for small business loans.
The survey further revealed that small business owners make constant sacrifices to support their businesses — the majority report postponing vacations, using personal savings, and cutting personal expenses all to grow their businesses. Many business owners are working to achieve more balance — 40% say they expect to make fewer sacrifices in 2015 than in 2014.
The Kabbage survey notes that small business owners across all industry sectors and geographies were optimistic about their 2015 revenue growth. The most bullish industries include marketing services firms, beauty and fitness spas, retailers, restaurants, home services, manufacturing, and transportation.