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MMB Shares Small Business Survey Results

Small business owners report that in-person meetings facilitate and enhance their ability to innovate, engage and collaborate, according to a new survey released by Meetings Mean Business (MMB) during a conference call with meetings media on Dec. 6. As a result, 91 percent of small business owners taking part in the survey* said they plan to spend as much or more on travel for meetings in 2017 as they did in 2016.

“The small business owner community is a critical contributor to our economy, and in-person meetings help this community make the most out of their investments,” said Richard Harper, executive VP at HelmsBriscoe and co-chare of Meetings Mean Business. “MMB’s survey illustrates that small business owners who connect with current and potential customers face-to-face build stronger partnerships that ... grow their bottom line.”

The survey shows that small business owners believe their most important business activities, such as building partnerships and negotiating are more effective face-to-face. Small business owners also say professional development and productivity are improved by in-person meetings.

Additionaly, seven in 10 small business owners consider off-site meetings a high priority.

Surprisingly, small business owners in the technology sector placed an even higher value on connecting face-to-face than non-tech sector respondents, with 75% placing a high priority on attending networking events and 81 percent prioritizing participation in industry conferences and tradeshows. Dan Berger, founder and CEO of Social Tables, a collaborative event software provider, was on the call to showcase the importance of in-person meetings and how they have directly affected his company’s bottom-line.

“Over the last 10 years, we’ve gotten more than 8,000 leads out of the events we’ve participated in,” Berger said. “Revenue has grown 70% from this time last year, thanks to meetings and events.”

During the call, Berger detailed the four categories of events that Social Table hosts or attends, including marketing events, community events, traveling “roadshow” events and celebratory events. He added that celebratory events have a huge impact on small businesses and heighten employee morale.

Click here to download a PDF summary of key findings from MMB’s small business survey.

*About the Survey: From Sept. 19 - Oct. 3, 2016, APCO Insight, an international opinion research firm, conducted an online survey of small business owners. The survey was commissioned by the Meetings Mean Business coalition and included a total of 300 respondents representing 24 industries, with an additional oversample of 100 small business owners in the technology industry. Respondents are between the ages of 30 and 70 years old and employed full-time at a for-profit company. All describe themselves as an owner, founder, CEO or president of a small business.

For the purposes of this study a small business was defined as one that employs fewer than 250 employees.