Great news for any small business looking to get ahead: Salesforce Research has just released the Third Edition Small and Medium Business Trends Report, sharing data and observations from more than 2000 small and medium businesses (SMB) owners and leaders from around the world. The research digs into the challenges and goals of SMBs, analyses how demographics shape the SMB experience, and covers the role of technology in satisfying customer expectations.

Which challenges are daunting for small business leaders? How do SMBs use technology to meet customer expectations? Here are three small business insights we found especially telling.
 

It’s still more difficult for women to raise funds than men

 

The data shows women still have a harder time raising venture funds than men: 62% of women report that access to funding is one of the biggest obstacles they face (versus 57% of men). Female SMB leaders indicate accessing capital is their most prominent challenge, while male leaders say their leading challenge is hiring the right talent.
 

 

Reasons for starting a business vary across generations

 

Also of note: The top reason SMB leaders start a business is that they want to be their own boss (55%). However, the reasons for starting a business tend to align with age. Compared with baby Boomers and traditionalists, millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to start businesses so they can pursue an idea they’re passionate about, earn supplemental income or escape a hostile work environment.
 

 

SMBs aren’t intimidated by AI

 

How do small businesses feel about artificial intelligence (AI)? Our research indicates that AI has truly become a competitive advantage for growing companies in 2019. Nearly half (46%) the SMB owners surveyed believe their businesses are ready to use AI. Perhaps the positive sentiment signifies these small businesses both see the benefits and are less daunted by the growing software trend.
 

If you’re looking to grow a business check out the Small and Medium Business Trends Report. Find out about new technology trends and see what factors help set your small business up for growth.