ChannelVision Sept-Oct 2017

You wouldn’t know it from watching cable news or swiping through the major news feeds, but the U.S. economy, at least in terms of retail sales, unemployment rates, GDP growth, savings rates and consumer confidence, has been moving in the right direction and gaining momentum during the past several months. In turn, there are indications that U.S. small businesses have shaken off their post-recession trepidations and are ready to invest in their companies in ways they haven’t for some time, including investing in “growth.” No doubt encouraged by the current administration’s proclivity to reduce regulations and its promises to lower corporate tax rates, small businesses are optimistic at levels that are not only well above 2016’s but are at their highest levels since the Great Recession, at least according to the most recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. Small-business owners are particularly positive about their finances, with 73 percent saying their current financial situation is “very good” or “somewhat good.” About half (46 percent) have seen revenue increases during the past 12 months, and nearly a third of small business owners (63 percent) say cash flow has been very or somewhat good during that same period. Credit access continues to be positive, says the report, with only 19 percent saying that credit was now somewhat or very difficult to obtain. These measures are all more positive than they were even a year ago. Business owners also are more positive than negative about the future size of their workforces. About a third say the number of jobs at their business will increase during the next 12 months, compared to the 6 percent that predict it will decrease. Meanwhile, a recent survey from business software review site G2Crowd shows that a full 77 percent of small businesses in the U.S. say they are investing in growth in 2017, and 75 percent reported growth as their main business objective. Technology, in particular the internet, is interrelated with that growth, suggest the findings. In 2016, for instance, 63 percent of small businesses reported investing in growth plans and of that investment, 18 percent invested in software, cloud software and other IT systems, show the G2Crowd figures. That places technology investment as tied for first along with marketing/advertising and new equipment. Isolating just the businesses that reported focusing on growth, software, cloud software and other technology moves up into number one at 20 percent. Likewise, 40 percent of all respondents plan to increase IT spending this year, but among the growth-oriented businesses, those plans jump to 47 percent. At the same time, IT outsourcing percentages are at a five-year high, say ana- lysts at Computer Economics. “While organizations aren’t broadly increasing the number of functions they choose to outsource, they are increasing the amount of work they send to outside service providers,” said the research firm. Indeed, the percentage of total IT budgets being spent on outsourcing rose from 10.6 percent in 2016 to 11.9 percent in 2017. “This represents a major increase as organizations have hovered between 10.2 percent and 10.6 percent for the previous four years,” said Computer Economics. This all sounds like positive news for suppliers and distributors of communications and connectivity solutions and value-adds that enhance productivity, improve customer experiences and promote collaboration, as well as the stable bandwidth that allow small businesses to grow bigger, better and faster. Small Biz Boom? Martin Vilaboy Editor-in-Chief Tara Seals Contributing Editor Percy Zamora Art Director Berge Kaprelian Group Publisher Rene Galan Associate Publisher Anthony Graffeo Associate Publisher Miki Takeuchi Marketing & Digital Media Beka Business Media Berge Kaprelian President and CEO Neil Ende General Counsel Corporate Headquarters 14700 N Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, #157 Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Voice: 480.503.0770 Fax: 480.503.0990 © 2017 Beka Business Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in any form or medium without express written permission of Beka Publishing is prohibited. ChannelVision and the ChannelVision logo are trademarks of Beka Publishing LETTER 6 Channel Vision | September - October, 2017