Small business owners in Atlanta are optimistic about their prospects for the upcoming year, according to a recent survey by Bank of America’s Small Business Owner Report. This past fall, the publication released their findings about the future of small business in Atlanta and other cities around the United States. Researchers found that most small business owners in the Atlanta area are feeling confident of their success in 2013, with little concern over competition from larger businesses nearby. What makes the difference to these entrepreneurs? While many factors come into play, one of the largest is their ability to offer stellar customer service to their customers.
A Bright Future
The survey included an oversampling of small business owners in the Atlanta area, as well as other cities in the country. Researchers discovered that the business owners were optimistic about their prospects in 2013, with more than half predicting revenue increases over the next 12 months. Nearly that same number expected staffing needs to remain consistent over the next year, while 31 percent expect to expand their staffing during that time. These numbers are especially positive, considering that less than half the population expected the local economy to improve significantly over that same time frame.
Small business predictions are a key factor in anticipating the health of the economy overall in 2013, according to Dean Athanasia, Preferred and Small Business executive from Bank of America. Athanasia explains that small business is a major driver of the economy in the U.S., which makes it an important player in economic growth. Athanasia adds that the confidence shown by small business owners in Atlanta should be encouraged, since that positive attitude could trickle down to the rest of the market.
The Customer Service Advantage
When small business owners were questioned over their competition from larger businesses in the area, Bank of America researchers found concern to be minimal. Only 17 percent of small business saw larger companies as a direct competitor, and the majority (79 percent) even named larger companies as some of their own customers. Nearly one-third agreed that larger businesses in the vicinity motivated the smaller business owners to work harder and become better business managers.
The biggest advantage small business owners want to capitalize on is their ability to deliver first-rate, customizable service to their customers. The survey found that 81 percent of small business owners cited customer service as their top edge over larger competitors. Other factors that came into play in that arena included quality, reliability and trust – characteristics that are often conveyed through a business’s customer service culture.
One small business owner surveyed is located just down the street from a major competitor in the Atlanta area. The businessman told Bank of America that he sees the proximity of the larger business as an advantage for his company. Customers that come into his establishment receive much more personalized service than they get down the street. In addition, this business owner is close enough to the competition to know how to counter sales and promotions that occur at the neighboring store.
Customer service is a key factor small business owners bring to the table. By focusing on their ability to provide custom, personalized and friendly service, they can stay ahead of even the largest competitors.