Setting goals has long been encouraged as a means to building a successful small business, but what goals do small business owners (SBOs)believe are the most important for them? Manta and Dell, in a March 2014 survey found that, among SMBs, building a base of repeat customers is the most important objective.

In the study, as reported in eMarketer, more than two-thirds (37%) identified getting repeat customers as the principal milestone, easily outdistancing other traditional objectives such as the first profitable year (14%), peer or community recognition (10%), and first sale (9%).

This makes sense and it reinforces findings from a survey commissioned by U.S. Bank in the first quarter of 2014. In polling owners from across the business spectrum, Market Probe International (acting for U.S. Bank) found that two-thirds or more of all respondents, regardless of the industry, saw financial health as the most important indicator of performance. Repeat business is one of the elements needed for financial strength.

The Manta study also revealed that SBOs identified certain emerging technologies as playing key roles in building their business – 41% singled out social media platforms and 32% pointed to mobile technology as the most important of these.


eMarketer. “Repeat Customers the No. 1 Milestone for Small-Business Owners,” May 5, 2014.

Manta, Small Business Time Machine. “Manta-Dell Study Reveals Unique Insights into Small Business Ownership and the Life of an Entrepreneur,” [Infographic] March, 2014.