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Small-Business Owners: Working Harder, But Optimistic

June 17, 2013

If small-business owners had a collective mantra right now, it would be: "It’s tougher than it was five years ago, but I am going to succeed."

Nearly six in 10 small-business owners say that it’s harder to run their company now than it was five years ago, according to a survey of 917 small-business owners and primary decision makers released today from digital-marketing company Constant Contact. Respondents have been in a leadership role at their respective small businesses for at least five years and they are customers of Waltham, Mass.-based Constant Contact. Despite their struggles, 72 percent of respondents say they expect to generate more sales this year than they did last year.

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Back in 2008, President Barack Obama was just being elected for his first term, the Great Recession was hitting the U.S., and Twitter was a relatively new social media platform. Here’s a look at what’s changed for small-business owners in the past five years, according to the survey.

While the economic and technological landscape has changed over the past five years, what keeps business owners up at night has largely stayed the same, the survey finds. Identifying new customers, having enough time to take care of running their business and holding onto existing customers were -- and still are – the top worries of small-business owners.

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Looking forward, almost six in 10 survey respondents say they expect their business to be “thriving” in five years, including some combination of more customers or more employees. By 2018, 26 percent of respondents expect their business to still be largely where it is today and 8 percent say their business could potentially be closed down.