Are small business owners finally seeing the light at the end of the recession’s tunnel? The results of the Small Business Attitude survey taken by Constant Contact point to an improved state of affairs. About 70% of the 7,000 survey respondents say they expect business to grow moderately or significantly this year.  And  over 1/3 of businesses in this survey have 4 or fewer employees  which means they are likely watching every penny.

One interesting finding in this survey is that small business owners concede to having difficulty with marketing. Well over half (57.3%) say that the cost of marketing has risen significantly in the past year. At the same time, economic pressures forced 43% of operators to reduce their marketing budgets.  And over 20% of small business owners say they need help both with  marketing and sales/new business activities.

As these operators review their marketing efforts this year and determine how to proceed, they say they’ll require assistance in the following areas:

  • Create a marketing plan 83.5%
  • Find the best way to get new customers: 93.6%
  • Encourage existing customers to refer more business: 92.1%
  • Identify the best online marketing tools: 92.0%
  • Measure impact of campaigns: 92.2%

The results of this survey show that small operators are breathing a sigh of relief. They’ve survived the most difficult economic contraction in recent memory. Now they’re ready to focus on marketing again and for many, the focus will mean a shift to online tactics and an attempt to measure ROI – strategies that are quite similar to those taken by larger companies.

[Source: 2010 U.S. Small Business Attitudinal Survey. Constant Contact. 2010. Web. 5 May 2010]