What keeps small business owners up at night?

Attracting customers is the top worry for small business owners, according to a national study by Womply.

Attracting customers is the top worry for small business owners, according to a national study by Womply.

Let’s face it: running a business is hard. That’s especially true for local merchants who wear many hats and face all the challenges that come with those many roles.

With so many things to worry about, which concerns are the most pressing for small business owners? To find out, we asked nearly 3,000 of them nationwide. As part of our small business sentiment study, we created an “anxiety index” that ranks the things that keep local business owners up at night. Here’s what we found:

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Clearly, getting customers in the door is top of mind all the time. “Attracting customers” and “making enough money” go hand-in-hand, and “having enough time for everything” is a byproduct of trying to do it all and make customers happy.

As part of our national survey, we asked how business owners feel about prospects over the next year. From there, we split respondents into optimists and pessimists. When you filter the top worries by sentiment, you see some interesting themes emerge:

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Getting customers and making enough money are huge factors regardless of optimism level, but external variables like the threat of an economic recession are weighing heavy on pessimists. It’s also interesting that health insurance is a top worry for optimists but not pessimists. Maybe providing insurance as a benefit to employees is bigger problem for companies with brighter prospects.

We’re not just here to provide data — we’re here to help! Since attracting customers is the common theme of this research, here are three ways small businesses can get more patrons in the door:

  1. Get more online reviews: More reviews means more people can find your business when they search for products or services like yours online. You can use Womply Get Reviews to encourage your best customers to post positive feedback about your business online.

  2. Increase customer loyalty: Repeat customers can help your business generate 47% more revenue. Identify your top customers with Womply Customer Directory and target them with special promotions or loyalty offers.

  3. Target new customers by location: If you know where customers spend money, you can target marketing efforts in those locations to efficiently attract new patrons. Read about how Barbara Criswell, owner of Aquarius Books in Kansas City, uses Womply Customer Pulse to see spending patterns by zip code and find pockets of new customers.