More than 90 percent of small business owners agree: After a challenging year-and-a-half spent navigating the business challenges of the pandemic, the future is bright—and those businesses see opportunities for growth in the year ahead.

That insight comes from Cox Business’ “Small Business Snapshot” survey, which polled more than 700 U.S. small business owners about their business strategy, spending priorities, and plans to grow their business in the coming year. The response was largely positive regarding the future of small business in America, with some notable trends and insights into how businesses are planning to seize upon growth opportunities in the future.

“It’s been a tough year on companies worldwide, but particularly among minority-owned businesses,” said Perley McBride, executive vice president of Cox Business. “While we’ve seen movements take root in shopping small, buying local and supporting minority-owned companies, it’s heartening to hear many businesses are recovering and are optimistic about their financial futures.”

Here are some of the survey highlights that may be relevant to your small business advertising and marketing strategies.

1. Minority Small Business Owners are Focused On Growing Their Business

An increased focus on social justice initiatives, along with a broader consumer push to support minority-owned businesses, is paying off for many of those organizations. Of the minority business owners surveyed, 43 percent believe that being minority-owned helped them generate more revenue in the past year.

Now, those businesses are focused on leveraging this momentum to continue growing their business in the year ahead. Like many other companies, minority-owned businesses are focused on reinvesting their revenues into a variety of strategies that will help them grow their customer base and plan out a long-term growth strategy.

The strategic advisory services these businesses are seeking can include advertising and marketing consultation with a trusted digital advertising partner. Fifty-two percent of minority-owned businesses cite customer base growth as one of their business organizational challenges. Another 41 percent consider business planning a top challenge. A digital ad partner can help address both of these limitations while improving the cost-effectiveness of your digital marketing and advertising.

2. Profit Reinvestment is a Top Priority for Young Small Business Owners

Many small businesses were fortunate to receive Paycheck Protection Program loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. How those organizations chose to use those funds has taught us a lot about how business owners are planning business investments with an eye on the future.

Overall, 81 percent of business owners reinvested their PPP loan money directly into their business, rather than taking those funds as compensation. But business owners in the 18-44 age bracket were particularly focused on using those funds to make strategic investments into technology and modern services that would enable greater efficiency, scalability, and growth for their organizations.

These younger business owners not only have an eye on their long-term strategy, but they’re also focused on identifying platforms, partnerships and business solutions that offer sustainable long-term value in supporting and growing their business. Expect these investments—and their dividends—to be a recurring theme of small business success stories.

3. Brand Purpose Has Become an Asset for Local Businesses

Small businesses have leaned into using their platforms to advocate for social issues they believe in—and this bold decision to embrace brand advocacy is paying off, according to early data.

Business owners under 45 years of age have been most aggressive about using their branded social platforms and other content channels to be active engaged in social justice issues, and their customers are rewarding them for their outspoken approach: among the business owners that have used their business platforms to speak out about social justice issues, 85 percent of those businesses report a positive response.

This is a positive sign that business owners don’t have to choose between supporting social justice issues and alienating their customer base. If anything, it strengthens the belief that brand advocacy can be a path to increasing customer loyalty and long-term business growth.

As you plan out your growth strategy, a digital advertising partner can help you address every aspect of building a successful small business. From choosing the right digital advertising channels to refining your messaging and optimizing based on campaign performance, Cox Media’s team of experts is ready to help—contact us today to get started.