New Survey Finds Small Businesses Are Down but Not out: Concerned about Business Climate; Optimistic about Their Own Growth

Infogroup Survey Finds Over 75% of Small Businesses Say Marketing Budget Will Stay the Same or Increase over the Next 12 Months

OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Infogroup, the leading provider of targeted high-value sales and marketing data, customer and market intelligence, and innovative digital engagement solutions, today announced the results of their quarterly Small Business Marketing Outlook Survey.

Small businesses were generally very negative about the current business climate for small businesses with 57% saying it’s” poor or terrible” and only 11% saying it’s “good”. 

When asked why they answered the way they did about the current business climate, responses were generally reflective of government regulation; lack of financing, and consumer confidence 

  • “The cost that the government has increased on a small business is way too much…it is putting the small business out of business.” 
  • “Small business owners are having a hard time finding financing.” 
  • “Lower customer confidence due to weak economy and poor job market.”

The minority who were more optimistic about the economy generally cited adaptability of and local support for small businesses 

  • “Small businesses are flexible and can accommodate quickly to the changes in the environment.”
  • “We're a brand new business, but we've seen quite a bit of support from surrounding communities. I think things will only get better!” 

Small business sales/revenue growth has been challenged during the 12 months prior to the survey, with more than half (56%) saying their “growth” was flat or had declined. Looking ahead, they remain skeptical about of the overall business climate; only 40% expect it to improve over the next 12 months. Surprisingly, when it comes to their own business prospects, however, they are more optimistic. Sixty-one percent (61%) of respondents expect their sales/revenue to grow in the next 12 months, 37% by 5% or more. 

“It’s heartening that small businesses are feeling positive about their own growth and prospects,” said Infogroup President and CEO Clare Hart. “The survey shows that they are committed to using marketing to grow their business. At Infogroup, we have found that small businesses are leveraging technology to save time and to do more, faster.” 

In the Small Business Marketing Outlook Survey, Infogroup asked small businesses what they thought about the current economic environment, their prospects for growth in the future and the marketing techniques most important to powering their business growth. 

Small Business Marketing 
To grow their businesses, small businesses expect to stay the course with marketing. Nearly one-third (31%) expect to increase their budgets over the next 12 months and 57% expect their marketing budgets to remain flat. Only 10% expect a decline in their marketing budgets.

When it comes to marketing their own businesses, small businesses are using a range of marketing techniques:

  • By a large margin, the company website is ranked as the most important marketing technique with 60% saying their company website is very or extremely important 
  • Email marketing had a strong showing with 50% listing it as 'very important' or 'somewhat important' 
  • When it comes to small business use of social networking to market their businesses, Facebook is most popular with 20% of respondents rating it as extremely/very important and 24% saying it’s somewhat important 
  • The importance of Twitter was much lower, only 24% assigned it somewhat or higher level of importance 
  • Traditional print marketing and search advertising were rated by most respondents as 'somewhat important'
  • Local coupon sites were less popular as a marketing technique, with only about 26% of survey respondents rating them with somewhat or higher level of importance 
  • Small businesses also stated that word-of-mouth and referrals are essential to getting their name out there and driving business. 

Survey Methodology
The findings reported in this release are from an online survey conducted by Infogroup of a national representative sample of small businesses, defined as companies with less than 100 employees, drawn from the Infogroup proprietary business database. The survey was live between August 23 and September 6, 2011. The margin of error is +- 6% at the 95% confidence level. 

About Infogroup’s solutions for small business
Infogroup powers small business growth with cost-effective sales and marketing solutions designed specifically to meet the challenges of the emerging business, including finding the time resources to market to customers and prospects. Small businesses can find targeted and relevant business and consumer leads at and With Infogroup’s email and direct marketing solutions small businesses can connect and engage with their most important audiences and get their messages across through the right channels. Infogroup also provides small businesses with an in-depth look at the hidden information about their customers so they can increase loyalty and grow sales. To find out more, visit

About Infogroup
Infogroup helps companies increase sales and customer loyalty through our high-value data, market intelligence and innovative digital solutions. We uncover and unlock revenue growth by enabling our clients - from local businesses to Fortune 100 companies - to connect and engage with their most valuable audiences millions of times each day. Infogroup data powers the top 5 Internet search engines and provides point-of-interest data for the leading in-car navigation systems. For more information, visit