Small business owners have a new hop in their step, according to a new survey by American Express OPEN.
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The survey found that stress levels have dropped significantly for business owners since 2011. While just over half of entrepreneurs surveyed report feeling stressed out by the economy, 70% said they were feeling anxious about the economic big picture in the spring of 2011.
“The recession’s silver lining is that small business owners have become more adept at navigating an uncertain economy, gaining valuable experience and putting it into practice along the way,” said Denise Pickett, president of American Express OPEN. “While they remain optimistic and confident in their ability to manage their businesses, entrepreneurs are realistic that challenges may arise and look beyond themselves – recognizing the importance of community and networking – understanding they do not have to go it alone.”
On this note, the majority of business owners say they are making an effort to forge new connections. Eighty-one percent say it’s a priority to meet new people, while nearly 40% say networking is the most important factor behind growth.
Small business owners are also looking to harness the power of social media to cheaply find new customers. Fifty-eight percent report using social media platforms for their business, up 46% from spring 2013. Additionally, more than 40% say they plan to double down on social media efforts in the coming year.
But not every small business owner is atwitter about social media. Though 29% say social media has helped them survive tough economic times in recent years, over half say social media is a “time-suck” that doesn’t pay off.
More than 1,100 small business owners participated in the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor survey. All participants manage companies with fewer than 100 employees. The survey was conducted via telephone from February 24 to March 18, 2014.