Small businesses are the building blocks of local communities, creating jobs and connecting people with products and services. But behind every business is a person with a vision—and the passion and determination to bring that vision to life.

From a denim maker in Wales to a bakery owner in Washington, many entrepreneurs have found success by growing their businesses online. In the UK, more than 1 in 3 small businesses on Facebook say they built their business on the platform.1 In the US, 3 in 10 say the same.2

They may seem small, but small and medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, are leaders of change, disrupting existing industries to help move the world forward. They drive digital transformation, collaboration and community connection. Resilient by nature, innovative by necessity, small businesses have a lot to teach businesses of all sizes.

To better understand what makes small businesses so successful, we spoke to the people who shape their marketing: local entrepreneurs, Facebook Page owners and employees at SMBs. When we refer to SMBs throughout this piece, we are referring to people surveyed across all three categories. Discover how strategies embraced by small businesses can be your gateway to future growth.

Connect with communities

Small businesses are integral parts of local communities. Their owners and employees take the time to form deeper connections with their customers, and this keeps people coming back. In fact, 87% of people surveyed say they shop locally because of trust and security. And 40% of people surveyed say they shop locally because small businesses offer a more personal customer experience.7

While many SMBs maintain physical locations in small communities, others have managed to bring local attributes to a global scale, using online tools to reach customers around the world. Millions of small business owners and marketers use Facebook to find new customers across borders, allowing people to enjoy the benefits of shopping locally with small businesses everywhere.

Around the world, SMBs surveyed say Facebook helps them reach customers in other cities, states or countries:

Equalize opportunity

Small and medium-sized businesses provide job opportunities within their communities, and many SMB leaders foresee future growth. Globally, 60% of people surveyed at SMBs are optimistic about the future of their businesses,13 and 40% expect to the number of employees to increase in the next 6 months.14 Around the world, some business owners, like the founder of a handcrafted accessories company in the Philippines, even strive to lift people out of poverty through the jobs they offer in their local areas.

Given their reliance on online tools, entrepreneurs around the world see the value in building a digitally-skilled workforce. When hiring, many SMBs even prioritize these types of skills over traditional job requirements.

Most people surveyed at SMBs say digital and social media skills are more important than where an applicant went to school:

Regardless of where they are located or how small they might be, many SMBs succeed by finding agile, innovative ways to connect with people and grow their businesses. And marketers of all kinds of businesses can adopt these strategies to expand their own businesses.

TIPS FOR MARKETERS:

  • Businesses of all sizes can benefit from using online tools to connect with people around the world. Consider which online tools and platforms can help your business grow—like Facebook Pages. And, if you’re looking to build a digitally-skilled workforce, try posting your open jobs to Facebook.

  • SMBs thrive through adaptation and experimentation. If you’re part of a small business, consider attending a Community Boost event to hone your digital skills. Facebook IQ insights can help you connect with more people you want to reach and Blueprintcourses can help you build the skills to grow your business. And if you’re driving a female-led SMB, explore #SheMeansBusinessto find inspiration, advice, resources and events that can help you succeed.