The SOBO (State of the Business Owner) report for 2013 has just been released, lending new insight into the general mindset of small and midsized business owners. This report has been commissioned for the second time in two years by EMyth, a 35-year-old business coaching firm, and is aimed specifically at gaining insights into the challenges business owners are facing on a daily basis, and how they are seeking to overcome these issues. Findings from the report include the following:

  • Successful business owners these days are focusing on profitability rather than revenue. This translates to a greater degree of focus on certain foundations and core systems aimed at building a sound structure designed to support long-term growth. The 9 best practices toward this end include: written values, written vision, business metrics, written marketing plan, ideal customer profile, marketing metrics, role descriptions, revenue plan, and repeat sales plan. The SOBO study found that companies who implemented these best practices had a 59.4 percent greater chance of meeting their profit targets.
  • Many more business owners are starting their business believing that meaning, freedom, and independence are more important than money. The report actually cites the top 3 reasons for starting a business as such: the chance to follow their personal passions, freedom to pursue new opportunities, and the ability to gain independence from others’ control. Interestingly, on this list money ranked fourth.
  • Small business owners are beginning to put the recession behind them. This is supported by several metrics captured in the SOBO report. Essentially, 63 percent of respondents think the economy will get better, with over 25 percent more optimistic about revenue growth in 2013. And 60 percent of owners reported increased profits in 2012 versus 2011. In addition, 57 percent gave raises of 2 percent or less in 2012. However, challenges still exist, including inconsistent cash flow (80 percent of respondents say this is a problem) and slow staff growth (with 40 percent citing more revenue growth than staff growth).

More than 1,700 business owners across the globe participated in this survey, with companies ranging from sole proprietorships to midsized businesses with hundreds of employees.


Kouremetis, Dena. “EMyth’s SOBO Report: Debunking the Myths of How Small Businesses Grow and Thrive.” Forbes. 5/16/13.

SO/BO. “State of the Business Owner 2013: The Pulse of Small & Midsize Business.” 5/16/13.