Revealed: small business outlook and resolutions for 2017

Late last year, we asked our BizRewards members about their outlook and New Year’s business resolutions for 2017. This blog outlines the results of that survey, which involved over 400 business people from all over the country. The vast majority of respondents (86%) were small business owners and managers.

The findings paint a generally positive picture of the coming months, which is in line with recent economic and business research. They also highlight key areas of focus this year for the small businesses involved in our study.

Great expectations

Around one in three respondents (32%) believes that the state of the economy will have improved by the end of this year. Over half (53%) say it will remain the same, while only 15% think it will have deteriorated. 

This ‘net positive’ result is along the same lines as findings from the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton Poll (pdf), announced on 27 November last year. It shows that 43% of consumers believe the NZ economy will get better over the next 12 months, and 33% think it will get worse.

Recent job market figures suggest that the optimists may be justified, at this early stage at least.

Trade Me reported this month that there had been a 16.4% increase in the number of job listings on the site compared with the same time last year.

Adding to the New Year cheer this month, ASB Bank’s forecasts included the economy growing 3.5%.

Planning for growth

It appears that many of our respondents will be adding their job ads to this year’s listings. Over a quarter (27%) expects to increase headcount by the end of 2017 compared with the same time in 2016. Only 4% think they will have to reduce the number of employees at their organisation. The majority (62%) expects to keep staff levels the same.

Looking at finances, the outlook is even more positive:

  • Over half (59%) expect revenue to have increased. Only 6% are predicting a decrease
  • A similar proportion (55%) expects a lift in profits, while 9% anticipate a drop

Raising prices looks set to play a key role in the finances of many respondents this year, with 42% expecting to put them up. In sharp contrast, only 1% anticipates having to lower prices.

Top 5 New Year’s business resolutions

When asked for their top New Year’s business resolution for 2017, most respondents’ answers fell into five clear categories:

  1. Make more money – 24%
  2. Manage my time better – 22%
  3. Grow the business in general – 20%
  4. Focus more on customers – 8%
  5. Focus on strategy and planning – 6%

Other resolutions included improving the workplace through new technology, developing and executing a marketing strategy, and improving internal communication. A few respondents stated that their resolution was not to make resolutions.

The Meeting Room team hopes that your business resolutions or plans – whatever they may be – transform from good intentions now to great outcomes by the end of this year. To that end, we aim to help you reach your goals and fulfill your ambitions by continuing to provide relevant and rewarding ideas, advice and tools throughout the year.

So, from all of us, all the best for 2017!