Over 1,000 business people from every populated continent in the world responded to the BNI Business Index for year-end, 2013. According to the survey results, almost 76% of the respondents felt that business was better today than in 2012. That’s up over 9% from the 2011 survey. In addition, only 6.1% felt that it was declining in the 2013 survey which is down from the 9.6% that said that business was declining in 2011.
The most promising news was the hiring trend numbers. The 2013 survey found that 55.3% of the respondents said that they would be or possibly would be, hiring in the 2013 survey compared to an anemic 42.9% in 2011.
Why the Improvement?
The three most common reasons cited for growth by the respondents was restructuring, niche marketing, and networking.
Restructuring was a common theme relating to many respondents. Comments such as: “one of the reasons my business keeps growing is that I… adapt my offerings to support the goals [of my clients].” Reorganizing showed up in responses like: I’ve “reorganized staff and cut expenses and it is starting to pay off.” “My number one goal was to reduce overhead to the max, and as well as “refocusing our services back to our core competencies… and better communication” has helped substantially.
Two comments that summed up many of the respondents beliefs were: “I’ve changed the way I do business,” and I “can’t keep doing the same old thing if it’s not working. You have to re-invent yourself.”
Other respondents focused on a niche market. Such as those who said things such as: “last year I became clearer about my target market, strategic partners and taking a hard look at my numbers and what work would be necessary to grow” and “many of my competitors were bought out and closed their doors. I focused on my core business.”
Networking continued to be a strong business builder as represented by comments such as: “my business depends a lot on referrals and networking” and “my business is flourishing today as a result of my networking efforts both via the internet and face to face.” Once respondent claimed that “my business has tripled its income over the past year due largely to my committed involvement to networking.”
The one thing that came up by many people who said they were still struggling were complaints about government regulation which have been a constant since the BNI Business Index was first released in 2010. Issues like the impact of health care reform, government regulation of businesses, and legislative incompetence showed up throughout the survey this year and every previous year.
I’d love to hear your feedback on the two questions posed in the graphs included in this blog post (How is business for you today compared to this time last year? ; Is your company hiring or planning on hiring people over the next few months?)–please share your answers in the comment forum below. Thanks!