2018 the year of ambitious small businesses

By Scott Donnelly, director

Small businesses are optimistic about 2018, but all growth hinges on funding

As we approach 2018, enthusiasm is running high for small and medium business owners with ambitious plans scheduled for the year ahead.

A new Microsoft Store and SurveyMonkey survey shows that 37.6% of small businesses surveyed plan to introduce new products and services. 35.7% plan on developing and executing a new marketing strategy. 33.9% plan to give back to the community and 18.9% said they plan to partner with other SMEs.
Perhaps most impressive, however, is that, according to Small Biz Trends, 90% of small businesses said they plan to hire one or two employees next year.

With high hopes for growth and the results from a 2017 Vistaprint study showing that 27% of consumers say they’re likely to shop at small businesses more often in 2018, things look optimistic for small business owners.

Indeed, while small and medium business owners are ambitious about the coming year, the earlier mentioned Microsoft Store and SurveyMonkey survey reports that 23% of business owners said that budgetary concerns were the greatest concern next year. Ah, yes. Funding.

However, all the ideas in the world are just ideas without funding to make it happen. So, where are small business owners going to source funds from come 2018?

Banks will continue to be cautious in granting loans to small businesses. Venture capitalists are always attractive to entrepreneurs, but venture funds will likely continue focusing only on well-established companies.

Although securing a loan through friends and family may be idealistic with friendlier terms and less paperwork, it´s not always an available option. Working with an angel investor – an individual with private wealth who funds small businesses and entrepreneurs usually with worldly causes – is also desirable but difficult to find. Likewise, securing a grant can be difficult to plan for.

When it comes to financing small businesses and finance trends for 2018, we will see one major shift. Small business loans from independent financial institutions will continue to be a reliable source for SMEs. However, the biggest funding opportunity for small businesses in 2018 will be through crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding has always been an important resource for small business owners and entrepreneurs, and 2018 will see its importance increase even further. One of the many advantages of crowdfunding companies such as Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, Circleup and Indiegogo, is they allow SMEs to fund new products and services while testing the market at the same time.

So, if you´re a small or medium business owner, how do you plan on funding your 2018 ambitions?