Small Creative Businesses Optimistic Heading Into 2009

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The FunctionFox Creative Industry Outlook survey finds creative professionals expect growth and new opportunities.

Seventy-two percent of small businesses in North America's creative services sector expect revenues to grow or remain stable despite the economic downturn, a new study reports today. Among the other optimistic findings: a solid majority expects to maintain or increase staff size and more than one-third see strong positioning as their greatest opportunity in 2009.

The FunctionFox Creative Industry Outlook survey was designed to determine the mind-set of creative business executives with 25 employees or less as they prepare for 2009. Respondents were asked to answer questions relating to projected revenue, staffing, challenges and opportunities.

"These small companies are finding innovative ways to operate more efficiently than ever," said Mary-Lynn Bellamy-Willms, CEO of Suburbia Advertising and Founder of FunctionFox. "In a time when many businesses are cutting back, it seems this nimble sector is energized. Their strategies include a focus on new leads and clients, micro-targeted marketing, and providing clients with new solutions using Web technologies."

Highlights of the 2009 survey (charts attached):

  • 40% of firms expect revenue growth in 2009
  • 32% of firms expect similar revenues to 2008
  • 23% expects to increase their staff in 2009
  • 61% expects to maintain current staff size
  • 33% of firms feel positive about their abilities to refocus their approach and positioning
  • 20% sees new media, such as social networks, as their greatest opportunity in 2009

Other highlights: Of the challenges facing these organizations, the most significant is finding new business. Respondents gave a range of answers when asked about opportunities, with some noting that the collapse of larger firms provides them with the unprecedented chance to take market share. Other opportunities include:

  • "establishing our position as an expert in specialized field"
  • "social networking and ideation"
  • "[be] leaner and cleaner, both in-house and for clients"
  • "moving into developing markets"
  • "opportunity to bring in better talent without increase in payroll"

This positive outlook in the midst of a recession was explained by one respondent as: "We're looking at the downturn in the economy as a potential boost to the outsourced marketing industry. More of our clients are looking to scale back on marketing staff in favor of strategically timed, expert support."

The survey, deployed November 16 through December 3, 2008, was completed by 209 highly targeted professionals in design, advertising, public relations, web and marketing communications in the U.S. and Canada. Respondents were invited to participate by email as part of the November 2008 issue of the FunctionFox About Time Newsletter. The survey was delivered online. Some answers were also broken down by region. (See attached charts.)

About FunctionFox

FunctionFox is the leading provider of time and project tracking software for small creative companies. TimeFox, its web-based timesheet and project management software, is the number one ranked time-tracking system in North America. Graphic design, advertising, communications, marketing, multimedia, public relations, and interactive firms all choose TimeFox as their web-based time and project management application. TimeFox is currently used by thousands of customers in Canada, the US, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

For questions regarding the FunctionFox Creative Industry Outlook for 2009, or for a copy of the full report go to:

Or please contact or call Toll Free: 1.866.369.8463.

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