Some 59% of decision-makers at small businesses say it's harder to run a business today than it was five years ago, and more than half cite the economy as a major challenge, according to a recent survey by Constant Contact.

However, though only 17% said the economy is better today than it was five years ago, 72% percent expect 2013 revenues to outperform 2012 revenues.

The Small Businesses: Then and Now Survey, which polled 917 decision-makers on how operating today differs from five years ago, also found that marketing, payroll, and the importance of being local have changed significantly for small businesses.

Below, key findings from the study.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji