COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwire - Jul 17, 2012) - For many, summer is the time of year to relax and take some time off from the daily grind -- but for small business owners, the summer slump is not a reality. In fact, according to a new Manta survey of over 1,200 small business owners, nearly half of those polled say they won't have time to take a vacation this summer and almost 60 percent say they're working more this year than they did last year. According to recent research from the Enterprise Council on Small Business (ECSB), one-third of self-employed persons (i.e. small business owners) work over 50 hours per week. Moreover, a majority of small business owners (70 percent) say they are not planning to hire any new employees during the summer months -- a significant drop since Manta's 2011 poll which revealed 57 percent of small business owners were planning to hire.
Manta, the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business, released the findings today as part of the latest Manta SMB Wellness Index, a quarterly index that highlights key insights on small business hot topics and examines new small business activity. Manta's data shows new business activity fell 22 percent in the second quarter of 2012, compared to the same time last year, and is down 26 percent year to-date compared to the first half of 2011. The index looks at multiple business resources nationwide and takes the "pulse" of small business owners on hot topics.
"The current economic conditions are putting a strain on all businesses, particularly SMBs, that often times need to do more with less," said Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta. "Manta is committed to helping small business owners thrive, especially in difficult times, by giving them the resources they need to connect with customers and prospects, and grow their business in creative and cost effective ways. For example, with Manta's Mobile app, users can access information on 24 million businesses and can easily add contact information to their mobile device so they can reach out to anyone in Manta's vast community, even when they are on the go."
While summer vacation isn't a reality for many SMBs, those that can get away say they will still be working, thanks to their mobile device. Seven in 10 small business owners will be checking email/work documents from their mobile device while on vacation; however, 60 percent say they can enjoy their vacation more because of their mobile device and business applications.
"As a small business owner, I don't have the luxury to ever really shut off from my business," said Terry Benton, owner of Louisiana-based Terry's Fabric Cottage. "While it can sometimes be a double-edged sword, my mobile device allows me to stay connected so I can enjoy time away from the office. Innovative mobile apps like Manta Business Search help me stay connected and ensures other partners and prospects can find my company anytime, anywhere as well."
Even when small business owners are in the office, they're still on their mobile device. One in four small business owners say they access apps on their mobile device for business 2-3 times every day. And nearly 7 in 10 (68 percent) say they use their mobile device while they're at work in front of their computer -- 54 percent say it's because they check personal emails/texts from their phone, while 17 percent say it's because their email comes in faster on their device and more than one in 10 admit it's because they are simply addicted to checking their phone.
But despite the mobile craze, small business owners still prefer traditional methods of communication when working with customers and partners. More than half of small business owners (57 percent) say they most often communicate with customers via phone or in-person, and 53 percent use those methods to connect with vendors and partners.
"While mobile technology is enabling small business owners to stay connected no matter where they are, SMBs set themselves apart by adding that personal touch to their relationships with customers and partners," added Springer.
For more on the Manta Q2 2012 SMB Wellness Index, please contact manta (at) bordersgratehouse (dot) com. Click here to access the full survey results.
About the Manta SMB Wellness Index
The Manta SMB Wellness Index is based on nationwide data compiled from new business licenses, DBA/corporate filings at city, county, and state levels, and is verified with multiple sources including utility information. Manta polled 1,213 small business owners, who are members of Manta.com and have claimed their Manta business profile, via an online Silverpop survey between June 18 and June 25, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 2.98 percentage points. Manta conducted the 2011 mobile survey of 1,043 small business owners from June 8, 2010 to June 13, 2011.
Manta helps small businesses profit, connect and grow through the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business. Millions of people come to Manta each day to buy from, partner with and connect to companies. By joining Manta, small businesses easily harness the power of the Internet. Get visible; grow your business for free at www.manta.com.