Bredin Report: SMB yearend priorities

Each month, we survey 500 SMB principals to keep track of their evolving needs and priorities. We recently asked what they plan to do or buy by the end of the year, and the results are intriguing:

  • Good news for FedEx, UPS and the USPS: the most common action SMBs plan by the end of the year is to ship a package overnight. While about half of very small businesses (VSBs, <20 employees) and mid-sized businesses (MBs, 100 to 500 employees) plan to ship at least one package overnight before yearend, roughly three in five small businesses (SBs, 20 to 99 employees) do.
  • Next is getting something printed, like business cards, a poster, flyer or mailer. Roughly two in five VSBs and SBs plan to send something to a printer, versus about half of MBs. Combined with shipping, these two actions are reminders that SMBs very much depend on physical goods.
  • Transitioning to the online world, the next most likely activity is upgrading our company website – about a quarter of VSBs and SBs plan to update their site, versus two in five MBs. This is consistent with the increased adoption of tech that we’ve seen driven by COVID-19, as SMBs seek to improve their online sales, marketing and other functions.

Which of these things will do for your business by the end of 2020?

  • After that is launching new products and services. As COVID-19 has depressed revenue for a wide range of SMBs, many have recognized that they need to change their business model to remain viable. This can mean, for example, moving delivery of in-person services online (such as via video), or offering products that better meet current customer budgets and needs.
  • In good news for the overall economy, a significant fraction of SMBs plan to hire staff by the end of the year. Roughly one in five VSBs, one in four SBs and two in five MBs plan to hire. Other Bredin research has shown that about a third of SMBs have decreased staff as a result of COVID-19, so many of these planned hires could involve bringing back laid-off or furloughed staff.
  • Business travel, perhaps not surprisingly, is not a priority; only about one in five SMBs plan to rent a car, stay in a hotel, or get on a plane for a business trip in the fourth quarter. The plurality of respondents expect to resume business travel in 2021, presumably with the widespread availability of a vaccine.

Need help understanding and/or engaging SMBs? Bredin can keep you up to date on evolving SMB needs and challenges through quick-turn, actionable market research. We can also help you develop high-value content to boost SMB awareness, brand perception, leads, conversion and revenue.

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.