Waltham, Massachussets (PRESS RELEASE – June 29, 2009) – Seventy percent of small businesses anticipate moderate to significant growth in 2009, according to the Small Business Attitudes & Outlook Survey conducted by Constant Contact®, Inc. (NasdaqGM: CTCT), a leading provider of email marketing and online surveys. Constant Contact conducted the survey in collaboration with the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), SCORE and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), organizations dedicated to the success of small businesses. This first-of-its-kind collaboration ensured broad representation of small business respondents and helped obtain insight into the current attitude of the small business community.
“The results of the survey reveal the optimism and perseverance that so often marks this spirited group of business owners, as well as their adaptability to meet current economic conditions,” said Gail Goodman, CEO and chairman, Constant Contact. “These companies show us all what it takes to succeed in any economic climate. We are grateful to our partners in the survey, which has given us an encouraging glimpse into the minds and attitudes of today’s small businesses.”
Small Businesses Anticipate Growth in 2009
The survey respondents’ generally optimistic outlook on growth is further highlighted by the fact that of those customers that expect to grow moderately or significantly in 2009, 47 percent expect to hire additional employees.
In 2009 do you expect your business to?
Grow Moderately 47%
Grow Significantly 23%
Stay the Same 17%
Contract Moderately 9%
Contract Significantly 3%
If growing significantly or moderately, do you plan on hiring additional employees this year?
Small Businesses Secure Funding in Tight Lending Market
Additionally, of the 15 percent of respondents that sought and secured additional financing in the past 12 months, 69 percent received funding from banks in what is perceived to be a historically tight lending market.
As Costs Increase Small Businesses Look for New Efficiencies
According to the survey, 59 percent of surveyed businesses indicated an increase in the overall cost of doing business over the last 12 months. The top areas affected by increased costs include materials and supplies (65 percent), marketing (49 percent) and taxes (44 percent).
In response, small businesses are cutting back, but are focusing predominantly on overall operating costs (49 percent) and travel and entertainment (37 percent) rather than headcount reductions.
How has your cost of doing business changed in the last 12 months?
It has increased 59%
It has stayed the same 32%
It has decreased 9%
In which areas of your business have you seen an increase in costs during the last 12 months?
Materials & Supplies 65%
Product Inventory 36%
Rent or Lease 32%
Travel & Entertainment 26%
Employee Benefits 24%
Have you taken any of the following actions in response to the current economy?
Reduce Operating Costs 49%
Reduce Travel & Entertainment Spending 37%
Change Product or Service Offerings 31%
Reduce Marketing Budget 29%
Reduce Prices 26%
None of the Above 25%
Layoff Employees 15%
Reduce Employee Benefits 9%
Small Businesses Market Smarter
According to survey results, more than 70 percent of small business respondents felt the biggest challenge in running their businesses was marketing effectively with limited resources. Respondents identified marketing (62 percent) and sales and new business development (50 percent) as the areas in which they need the most help.
Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents indicated they have reduced their spending on marketing, but are taking advantage of less expensive online marketing methods including email marketing. Seventy-four percent of surveyed businesses said they regularly conduct outbound communications; of which 97 percent use email marketing and 68 percent use a website.
Do you conduct outbound communications with your customers on a regular basis?
If yes, what avenue do you use to conduct your outbound communications?
Email Marketing 97%
In Person 58%
Direct Mail 40%
Small Businesses Make Small Steps Toward Social Media
Small businesses that have been in business for 10 or more years find it more difficult to keep up with new technologies (28 percent). Those mature businesses are also more likely to rely on traditional marketing methods such as direct mail. Newer companies (those who have been in business for one to five years) are more likely to use social media tools such as blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn.
How do you feel you are keeping up with technology?
On par 58%
Feeling left behind 28%
Ahead of the curve 13%
Survey results also indicated that social media tools have begun to penetrate small business’ communications strategies; however, few small businesses use these tools regularly, though many indicate an interest in doing so.
Are you using any of the following online tools to market your product or service?
Online Tools No plans to use /not relevant Think I should, but haven’t started Just started using it Use frequently
Website* 2% 8% 13% 76%
Online Advertising* 29% 29% 17% 25%
Email Marketing* 4% 13% 28% 56%
Blogs** 32% 35% 16% 17%
Twitter** 44% 29% 17% 10%
Facebook** 30% 25% 25% 20%
LinkedIn** 41% 24% 19% 16%
MySpace** 66% 20% 5% 9%
YouTube** 45% 36% 10% 8%
*Traditional Online Marketing Tools **Social Media Tools
How the Survey Was Conducted
The 2009 Small Business Attitudes & Outlook Survey was conducted through a targeted online distribution to U.S. small business owners. Results from more than 3,000 respondents were recorded. This survey was conducted from April 30, 2009, through June 12, 2009. Click here for full survey results.
Since 1964, SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 8 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 10,500 volunteer business counselors in 389 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.
For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE on the Web at www.score.org and www.score.org/women.
Established in 1914, ACCE is the only national association serving the professional development needs of chamber professionals throughout the United States and Canada. Representing more than 7,000 individuals, ACCE enhances the knowledge, leadership skills, and management effectiveness of chamber executives and their staff through education, benefits programs, trend analysis, benchmarking, and network development. ACCE supports and develops chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities. For more information on the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and all its resources, send questions via email form or call 703-998-0072.
About Association of Small Business Development Centers
Established through a public/private partnership by Congress in 1980, the Small Business Development Center program is the most comprehensive, efficient and effective business assistance network in the nation. Their mission is to help new entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership and existing businesses remain competitive in the complex marketplace of an ever-changing global economy. Over 1,100 local SBDC offices extend entrepreneurial education to meet small business needs, through individual counseling, training and research assistance while serving over 1.3 million clients annually, creating over 74,000 new jobs, and generating $500,000,000 in new tax revenues. Based in universities, colleges and economic development agencies, SBDCs are funded by state and local partnerships to match US Small Business Administration support. For more, please visit http://www.asbdc-us.org/index.html.
About Constant Contact, Inc.
Launched in 1998, Constant Contact, Inc. is a leading provider of email marketing and online survey tools for small organizations, including small businesses, associations, and nonprofits. To learn more, please visit www.constantcontact.com or call 781-472-8100.More in: Small Business Growth