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.
The Biggest Changes
When asked what the biggest changes are in how they do business today versus how they did business five years ago... ·
- 84% said using, or using more, online marketing tools.
- 59% said general economic uncertainty.
- 27% said using, or using more, automated business solutions (payroll, inventory, etc.).
Although email marketing has been an important tool over the last five years for the small businesses surveyed (64% used email marketing five years ago; 98% use it today), their use of social media marketing has exploded, with 87% of small businesses today using social media marketing versus 10% five years ago.
Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. 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