Small Businesses Then & Now


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How are things different for small business owners than they were five years ago, when the economic crisis started to unfold and social media gained a foothold with Facebook? Constant Contact surveyed small businesses to find out. Their answers provide an inside look at their evolving challenges and opportunities…

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  • Page 8 shows how marketing is changing, and yet how newsletter still is an important way to market your business. I've had a newsletter since 1999 and it's a great way to 'touch' prospects on a regular basis. However, you'll also attract a lot of freebie seekers, too.

    It's also interesting how events marketing is pretty high on the list. There are many types of events you can host, be part of a group who hosts it, or be a speaker at.
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Small Businesses Then & Now

  1. 1. Small BusinessesThen & Now1
  2. 2. How are things different for small business owners than theywere five years ago, when the economic crisis started to unfoldand social media gained a foothold with Facebook? ConstantContact surveyed small businesses to find out. Their answersprovide an inside look at their evolving challenges andopportunities…
  3. 3. 3No one said it would be easy.Harder, 59%About thesame, 30%Easier, 12%When asked if they feel it’s easier or harder to run a small businesstoday than it was five years ago, here’s what they said:
  4. 4. “Five years ago I felt like I was in a marathon, but not yetrunning. We were doing good, but I felt I had hit the wallwith market share. I was a little old fashioned, but decidedto try using email marketing. Once we mastered that, westarted to explore what was next on Facebook and Twitter.Now social media is critical to our success. I’m eventeaching bookbinding classes real time via Skype. “-Michael Chrisman, Bookbinders Workshop4
  5. 5. Why do you think it’s harder to run a business today?Challenges Abound50%10%20%30%40%50%60%Economyhas hit mybusinesshardHarder tokeep pacewithtechnologyMore directcompetitorsMorecompetitionfrom bigbusinessOther Harder toattract goodemployeesHarder tosecureloans55%49%40%34%19% 19% 18%
  6. 6. Yes, 51%No, 30%Not sure, 15%Not locallyowned oroperated,4%Do you feel that being locally owned and operated is amajor reason why your customers support your businesstoday?Buy Local“People want to shop local,they want to eat local. Peoplecome to our store specificallylooking for Minnesota beers.”-Bryan Buser, The Four FirkinsSome good news - the buy local movement is gaining steam.6
  7. 7. Biggest changes in how you dobusiness today vs. five years ago“Business today can’t be scared bychange. Sure, it can be frustratingsometimes, but businesses really need toembrace change and find out what’s newand where technology or best practicesfor using tools is going.”-Seth Tower, GunnDesignChange is Inevitable70%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90% 84%59%27% 26%22% 21%16%11%1%
  8. 8. “We’re using about thesame amount of digitalmarketing tools as fiveyears ago, we’re just usingthem differently. Five yearsago we just had Facebookand Twitter accounts, buttoday we’re making a pointto post every day.”-Bryan Buser, The FourFirkinsMarketing tools used today vs. five years agoSocial Media Explodes80%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%64%10%20%6%21%12%6%2%12%2%22%98%87%44%38% 36%31%24% 23%20%8%0.50%5 years agoToday
  9. 9. 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%Finding newcustomersHaving enoughtimeRetaining existingcustomers78%61%49%75%65%58%5 years agoTodayTop business concerns five years ago vs. todayBusiness ConcernsTheir primary concerns have remained virtually the same.9
  10. 10. Easier, 30%Harder,35%About thesame, 35%“We’re always concerned about findingnew customers because in our industryyou never know when a current customeror project will go away. It’s a revolvingdoor, so we can never stand still andalways need to be pushing forward. As aresult, we’re always looking at ways toengage with our current customers sothey can tell others about the great workwe’ve done for them.”Seth Tower, GunnDesignDo you think it is harder or easier to findcustomers today versus five years ago?Customer Insights10
  11. 11. Why is it harder to find customers today versus fiveyears ago?The Customer Dilemma110%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%45%50%Customerspay lessattention tomarketingMore directcompetitionMoreexpensive todo marketingCant keeppace with allof the onlinemarketingtoolsNone ofthese49%45%23% 23%20%
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%Moreaffordableonlinemarketing toolsTime-savingmarketing toolsCustomersrespond tomarketingNone of these Less directcompetition53%40%28%22%5%Why is it easier to find customers today versus fiveyears ago?Finding Customers with Tech Tools13
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. 0%10%20%30%40%50%Yes No Not sure49%38%13%Are your customers spending more money at yourbusiness today than five years ago?Spending Patterns15
  16. 16. 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%Yes No Not Sure63%22%16%Do you feel your customers have higherexpectations today than they did five yearsago?“Customers are more demanding.They’re seeking fresh marketingformats and ideas, and they expecta fast turn-around. Like everyone,really, customers want more tomaximize their spend.”-Debra Farrell, Diverse ResourcesCustomer Demands16
  17. 17. Great ExpectationsWhy do you feel customers have higher expectationstoday than they did five years ago?170%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%Expect morevalueExpect bettercustomerserviceExpect moredeals andcouponsExpect betterqualitygoods/servicesOther71%48%44% 42%14%
  18. 18. How has the volume of new customers changed?Increased, 55%Decreased, 26%Stayed the same,19%More is Better18
  19. 19. 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%Thriving, withmorecustomersand/or moreemployeesHolding steady Possibly closed Dont know58%26%8% 7%Where do you see your business five years from now?Optimism ReignsDespite the challenges they face, small businessesmaintain a positive outlook.19
  20. 20. This Constant Contact-sponsored survey was administered in Mayof 2013 to 917 small business participants in the Constant ContactSmall Biz Council – a research panel of US small businessesrecruited from the Constant Contact customer base. This surveywas fielded to those panel members who have been in a decision-making role in a small business for at least five years, and theywere asked their opinions on how operating a small business todaydiffers than five years ago. This survey is part of an ongoing seriesabout the state of small businesses and the ways they connectwith, and grow, their audiences. Results include responses fromrespondents across a range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.About the Survey