growth-smart.jpgFor the majority of small-business respondents in the 2009 Small Business Attitudes & Outlook Survey, the economic recovery is nigh. Seventy percent anticipate moderate to significant growth this year (only 1 percent think they will close their businesses), and 47 percent expect to hire additional employees.

The survey, conducted by online marketing firm Constant Contact, reveals two things, said CEO Gail Goodman: the optimism and perseverance of business owners, and their ability to adapt to even the toughest economic conditions.

Entrepreneur recently spoke with Goodman about the findings, and she noted the survey was a snapshot of what small-business owners are doing to grow their businesses and reach new customers on a budget. The results indicate that a mix of word-of-mouth referrals, email marketing and a good website is the way to go. "It's easy and affordable, and I think that's the highlight of this, that small businesses are finding ways to grow with very cost-effective tools and by staying in touch with current customers so that they refer new customers," she said.

She also pointed out that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are slowly gaining ground among entrepreneurs. "They're just starting to experiment with tomorrow's tools, but from a high level, are really focused on things that are delivering value today."

The Attitudes & Outlook survey was developed in conjunction with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, SCORE and the Association of Small Business Development Centers. Full results are here.