5 ways small businesses maintain a focus on customers and community–despite an unpredictable market

Editorial Team

3 min read
Food truck worker taking order on Clover Mini

Even as small and medium-sized businesses across the country continue to navigate uncertainty, they’re choosing to focus on opportunities to enhance customer experiences, to give back to their communities, and to grow. And despite challenges facing them–an unpredictable economy, rising costs, and staffing shortages–84% of small businesses surveyed remain optimistic.

A survey of small business owners in the U.S. who use the Clover point-of-sale and business management platform reveals their expected challenges and opportunities. Learn five ways these small businesses are seizing the moment in an unpredictable market.


1. Focus on customer experience

Today’s customers have high expectations of businesses and the experiences they create. And technology plays a significant role in those experiences. To that point, 40% of the small businesses surveyed say they’ll purchase new technology this year with over half of them hoping to use technology to reach new customers and improve customer experiences.

More specifically, new payment options play a leading role in their efforts to improve customer experience–about 60% of participants are considering offering new payment options like digital wallets, gift cards, and buy now, pay later.

2. Use technology to ease pain points

Technology features in this survey are critical to easing the daily demands on small business owners. In fact, nearly 85% of surveyed businesses say they’re leaning on technology to automate important operational tasks like reporting, billing, inventory management, and more.

And that frees business owners up to reinvest time in customers, family, or their own wellbeing. Interestingly, only 15% of participants report they’re not currently using technology to manage business or create greater efficiency, demonstrating there’s still room in the small business marketplace to introduce technology for operational efficiency.

3. Prepare for the unknown

Recession and economic uncertainty are top of mind for business owners. In fact, nearly 60% of participants believe a recession is coming. What’s more, 46% are making preparations for it. Exploring economic challenges further, just over 40% of participants include increasing cost of goods, materials, and operations and growing sales and revenue in their top three challenges they expect to face this year. In addition, almost a quarter of participants report growing sales and revenue as a top 2023 challenge.

4. Do good for your community

In spite of a challenging environment, small businesses remain committed to supporting their communities. Even more than creating valuable revenue and jobs for the communities they serve, 47% of surveyed small businesses are committed to giving back through non-profit organizations, sponsorships, and volunteering to meaningful causes.

5. Stay optimistic in spite of challenges

Demonstrating resilience and optimism, 84% of surveyed small businesses are keeping chins up and a positive outlook for the year, with over half saying they’re very optimistic. Interestingly, small business optimism is highest in the Midwest and the South and lowest in the Mid-Atlantic.

For more insights, download your free copy of the survey results.


And, learn more about how Clover POS systems are helping small business owners across the country increase efficiency, improve customer experiences, and boost business in our Meet the Merchant series.

Data cited is from a Clover Customer Survey on small business trends conducted by Fiserv. The survey, conducted in February 2023, contains data gathered from nearly 200 small business owners who use Clover technology to simplify running their businesses.

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