Forty-five percent of small-business owners in a new survey said their businesses are not profitable, while 60 percent blamed the economy as the main reason they are not profitable or as profitable as they could be.

The survey, by management consulting firm George S. May International, also found that 29 percent of the small-business owners cited competition within their industry as the main reason they are not profitable, while 10 percent cited company inefficiencies in sales, finance, operations or labor, and 1 percent cited management.

“Many business owners feel that the recession is to blame for all of their woes, but that’s simply not the case and is actually part of a bigger problem,” said May managing director Paul Rauseo. “There are plenty of small businesses making money in this economy because they are taking care of the business side of the business – controlling costs and increasing productivity.”

The survey also showed that 45 percent of the 1,000 small-business owners who were polled noted their accountant as the primary professional advisor they consulted for business help, while 20 percent noted “other” without specifying the person they consulted, 18 percent cited their attorney and 17 percent cited a management consultant. 

Rauseo said it is alarming that 60 percent of those polled by his firm said they are satisfied with their accountant’s help in making their business profitable, even though a majority of them are not profitable. In fact, 65 percent said their business is worse off this year than in 2008. “We hear many business owners say they just don’t have enough sales or there is a lack of advertising,” he said. “But really, they don’t have the business intelligence to tell them where their wastes are.”

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