9 Small Business Trends for 2012

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- It's been a long, oftentimes bumpy, ride for small businesses in 2011, but now it's time to close the books on this year and get ready for (hopefully) brighter days.

Some businesses assume it will be more of the same -- slow sales, little access to capital and general uncertainty on the tax and regulatory front.

But other are eagerly eyeing opportunities to position their companies for growth, boost sales and bring in more clients by introducing products or services, according to a Citigroup ( C) survey in mid-September.

A significant number of the survey's respondents plan to increase marketing in the new year through social media and to negotiate for better prices from suppliers and vendors, the Citi survey says.

Another trend likely to ring true in the new year: an entrepreneurialism boom.

Unemployment is still high, and the bump from seasonal jobs will soon be gone.

Additionally, military troops are coming home, and some will have trouble finding jobs.

"With returning veterans who are leaving the military to those who are laid off, many will decided to take their professional lives in their own hands and create businesses that will provide long-term security, income and, most important, their own say in their professional lives," says Jennefer Witter of The Boreland Group, a boutique public relations firm in New York and Washington, D.C.

"There will also be a boom in businesses that specialize in training and coaching, to help these groups succeed in their endeavors," Witter predicts.

Here are nine other trends we see for 2012.

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