It’s no secret that running a small business can be tough. According to new survey data from Constant Contact®, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTCT), it’s gotten even harder over the last five years. Constant Contact’s “ Small Businesses: Then and Now Survey”, conducted in May 2013, found that 59 percent of small businesses believe it’s harder to run a business today than five years ago, with more than half citing an economy that has hit their business hard. Only 17 percent said the economy is better today than it was five years ago. The good news? Seventy-two percent expect 2013 revenue to outperform 2012 revenues. What’s Harder and What’s Easier Today? Of the 59 percent of survey respondents who said it’s harder to run a business today than five years ago:
55 percent said the economy has hit their business hard.
49 percent said it’s harder to keep pace with technology.
40 percent said there’s more direct competition.
Only 12 percent said it’s easier today to run a business than it was five years ago, and of that group of small businesses, 89 percent cited online marketing tools that make it easier and less expensive to market their business. Other reasons cited were people caring about supporting local business and fewer direct competitors. Local Matters The survey reflects an uptick in the importance of the supporting local business. When asked if they think being locally owned and operated is a major reason why customers support their business today, 51 percent of respondents said yes, up from the 42 percent who thought it was a major reason why customers supported their business five years ago. “Supporting local is a growing consumer trend,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. “The national discussion about the importance of small business to our economic recovery has raised awareness, as have shop local movements like Small Business Saturday. Local and mobile search is also making it easier for small businesses to reach consumers. When a local restaurant can have its menu, along with that day’s specials, readily available to restaurant seekers browsing their smart phone for a good dinner spot nearby, it’s easy for customers to choose them.”
Since this summer's market low, small-cap stocks have been outperforming large-cap stocks. Here are small caps with 'persistently strong top-line growth and improving fundamentals,' according to RBC Capital Markets.