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Small Business Owners Taking “Wait And See” Approach To Growth, According To Latest American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor

High achievers represent six percent of the total survey sample, and on average, have spent twenty-six years in business, employ eighteen people in their firms and have attained business growth of thirty-four percent over the last three years (versus 10% growth for the total survey population). A comparison between the high achievers and the total survey group uncovers a host of key differentiators:

  • They take more risks: More than two-thirds have increased their appetite for risk compared to one year ago (67%, versus 35% of the total population)
  • They don’t just plan for growth, they make it a priority: A majority of high achievers say they are planning to grow their businesses over the next six months (93%, versus 69% of the total survey group) and more than half (51%) have growth as their top priority (versus 31% of the total survey group)
  • They invest in their business: More than three-quarters (78%) are planning to make capital investments (versus 49% of the total survey group)
  • They provide incentives to customers to get repeat business:
    • Eighty-four percent are placing heightened focus on better servicing customers to set their business apart from competitors (versus 78% overall)
    • Forty percent offer loyalty rewards (versus 22% overall)
    • Forty-one percent offer differentiated products or services (versus 23% overall)
  • They leverage social media: Seven-in-ten use social media (70% versus 49% overall)
    • More than three quarters (79%) use social media to attract new customers (versus 57% overall)

The Success Index was developed based on self-reported responses to questions regarding business growth and characteristics correlated with high-performing entrepreneurs. Based on a 100-point scale, four distinct levels emerged: “Strugglers” (scoring between 0-40 points), “Sustainers” (scoring between 41-60 points), “Strivers” (scoring between 61-80 points) and “High achievers”, who scored highest on the Index (between 81-100 points).

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