Small Creative Companies Preparing for Substantial Growth in 2010

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FunctionFox survey suggests dramatic improvements in the creative industry for small firms in 2010 compared with the past year. The new study shows a staggering 93% of small creative businesses are expecting to grow or maintain stable through 2010, with specific, optimistic findings for revenue, staffing and opportunities in the creative industry among small firms.

For creative professionals, 2009 was all about survival and smart, safe growth

A staggering 93% of small creative businesses are expecting to grow or maintain stable through 2010, a new study shows. Among the optimistic findings; the vast majority of firms expect to increase revenues in 2010, over one-third expect to add staff, many by embracing new forms of media and technology as new business opportunities.

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 2010. Respondents were asked to answer questions relating to projected revenue, staffing, challenges and opportunities. This is the second year that FunctionFox has conducted this extensive survey of creative professionals, so results are compared year over year with the previous year's report.

"For creative professionals, 2009 was all about survival and smart, safe growth," said Mary-Lynn Bellamy-Willms, Founder and CEO of FunctionFox. "2010 will be all about capitalizing on the seeds planted in 2009. It will be an exciting year for smaller creative firms that were well prepared for and have endured through a tough year in the communications industry. In a time when a lot of larger businesses are still reeling from dramatic change, small creative firms are poised to prosper from it."

Highlights of the 2010 survey (charts available in full survey report here):

  • 65% of firms expect revenue growth in 2010 - an increase of 25% from 2009
  • 37% expect to increase their staff in 2010 - an increase of 14% from 2009
  • The majority of firms in all major regions across North America (West, South, Northeast, Midwest USA and, Eastern and Western Canada) expect increased revenues in 2010
  • 56% expect to maintain current staff size
  • 24% see new media, such as social networks, as their greatest opportunity in 2010 - up 4% from 2009

Other highlights: As with the year prior, finding new business remains the most significant challenge facing small creative companies heading into 2010. Among opportunities listed by respondents, many noted that surviving a down economy in 2009 has left them poised and ready to capitalize in 2010 - particularly as marketing budgets return to a market with fewer competitors. Other opportunities include:

  • "Increasing workload with no increase in personnel to meet the demand"
  • "Continuing to narrow our focus"
  • "Breaking out of the vendor/service-provider model"
  • "Looking for larger clients who have less money to spend, so they're looking for smaller, more nimble agencies."

This fresh outlook coming through a recession was explained by one respondent as: "A chance to take lean-times mentality into the coming not-so-lean period. Efficiencies should equate to profitability with market upswing."

The survey, deployed November 17 through December 8, 2009, was completed by 244 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 2009 issue of the FunctionFox About Time Newsletter. The survey was delivered online. Some answers were also broken down by region. (For charts, visit FunctionFox Creative Industry Outlook 2010.)

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 a copy of the full FunctionFox Creative Industry Outlook for 2010 Report, visit

For questions and more information, contact:

Corina Ludwig
FunctionFox Systems Inc.
Toll-Free: 1.866.369.8463

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Corina Ludwig
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