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Small and Mid-Sized Business Leaders Anticipate Uptick in Business Conditions During the Next Six Months



Small and Mid-Sized Business Leaders Anticipate Uptick in Business Conditions
During the Next Six Months

Despite Optimism, Many Business Leaders Expect 2013 Hiring Levels to Fall
Short of 2012, According to Cbeyond Business Leader Snapshot(TM)

ATLANTA, Dec. 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nearly half (49 percent) of
business leaders expect general business conditions to be slightly or much
better six months from now, compared to the 27 percent who say it will be
slightly or much worse. Despite this optimism, 45 percent of small and
medium-sized business leaders expect 2013 hiring levels to fall short of 2012.

The findings stem from the Winter 2012 Cbeyond Business Leader Snapshot™, a
blind survey of 435 executives who own or manage a small to medium-sized
business with 10 or more employees. The objective of the survey is to provide
timely insights into relevant business and technology issues impacting small
and mid-sized businesses. Company size ranged from less than $250,000 in
revenue to more than $5 million, with 21 percent having more than $5 million
in annual sales, 32 percent having more than 100 employees, and 70 percent
having been in business for five years or more.  Industries were represented
as follows: 38 percent business services, 36 percent retail and manufacturing,
19 percent personal services and 7 percent non-profit.

Cbeyond Inc., (Nasdaq:CBEY), the technology ally to small and mid-sized
businesses, conducted the survey which studied the current business sentiment
and technology outlook among small and medium-sized business decision makers
in the U.S. Complete survey findings are available at
http://go.cbeyond.net/smbsnap.

Among the business leaders surveyed, 51 percent believe taxes are the biggest
immediate threat to the success of small and medium-sized businesses in the
U.S., followed by government regulations (41 percent), the cost of labor (34
percent) and the federal deficit (32 percent).

A plurality of SMB leaders (38 percent) fear the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, often referred to as ObamaCare, will have a negative
impact on their bottom lines in 2013.  At the same time, only 15 percent
expect this legislation to have a positive impact on their bottom line
numbers.

When asked to rate their stress levels today versus before the November
election, the majority (58 percent) of small business leaders say their stress
level is on the rise with 30 percent stating their stress level is much
greater and 28 percent stating it is somewhat greater.

Business Leader 2013 Technology Outlook

Small business leaders also expect technology to play a major role in their
businesses in 2013.  The specific technologies business leaders said would be
very or somewhat important to them in the coming year ranked as follows:

  o 94 percent network access (high-speed, always-on Internet access),
  o 94 percent desktop/laptop management (desktop support, software/antivirus
    maintenance),
  o 91 percent applications (security, productivity and collaboration
    software),
  o 90 percent mobile services,
  o 85 percent enterprise-grade voice and broadband services,
  o 82 percent cloud services.

The cloud is gaining traction among SMB leaders.  Of the respondents, 21
percent stated operating their business without cloud services (use of
hardware and software delivered as a service over the Internet) would be a
major challenge.  The majority of cloud users also find significant benefits
from the technology, with 83 percent stating the cloud made them more
flexible; 78 percent crediting the cloud for making them more productive and
71 percent stating that the cloud is saving them money.

Other findings showed SMB leaders are interested in leveraging cloud-based
solutions for a variety of business functions in the coming year, including:

  o 33 percent for banking (i.e., online banking or cash management),
  o 33 percent for company email,
  o 30 percent for file sharing,
  o 30 percent for data archival,
  o 29 percent for accounting/ERP.

More proof of the importance of technology is evidenced by spending plans for
2013.  Sixty-four percent of SMB leaders plan to increase their technology
budget in 2013.  Thirty-one percent expect their technology budgets to remain
flat, and only 5 percent anticipate a decrease in their technology budget.

"Cbeyond takes great steps to understand our customers' needs and the trends
and economic conditions that are impacting their businesses and technology
decisions," said Paul Carmody, senior vice president and chief marketing
officer at Cbeyond.  "This study showed there are still concerns about market
conditions and the impact of healthcare costs.  As small and medium-sized
businesses seek to cope with macro factors affecting their companies, leaders
increasingly view technology as a way to help them drive productivity.  They
also are starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel -- a
collective sentiment which we hope is indicative of the overall U.S. economy
moving forward in the coming months."

The survey also includes findings on SMB usage of onsite and offsite servers,
business continuity planning, offsite data backups and cyber security. For
in-depth survey findings visit http://go.cbeyond.net/smbsnap.

To view a social media version of this press release click here. Camera-ready
charts and graphs of findings from the Winter 2012 Cbeyond Business Leader
Snapshot are available by contacting Jackie Parker at 404-929-0091 ext. 220 or
jparker@arketi.com.

About the Cbeyond Business Leader Snapshot™ Survey

Cbeyond commissioned a blind survey of organizations with 10 or more employees
nationwide, in November, 2012.  Respondents to the online survey included a
total of 435 leaders of small and medium-sized businesses.  Company size
ranged from less than $250,000 in revenue to more than $5 million, with 21
percent having more than $5 million in annual sales, 32 percent having more
than 100 employees, and 70 percent having been in business for five years or
more.  Industries were represented as follows: 38 percent business services,
36 percent retail and manufacturing, 19 percent personal services and 7
percent non-profit. Survey results have been rounded.

About Cbeyond

Cbeyond, Inc. (Nasdaq:CBEY), a cloud and communications services provider, is
the technology ally for small and mid-sized business.  Our private,
proactively-managed IP network connects customers to voice, data and
enterprise applications hosted in our award-winning cloud data centers.  Since
1999, Cbeyond has served the unmet needs of businesses through technology and
service innovation.  We were the first company to build an all-IP network
specifically for small businesses and among the few to offer consultative
sales and service professionals onsite.  Today, our expanded portfolio helps
customers reduce the burden of outlaying capital and manpower to manage
infrastructure.  Creating an exceptional customer experience is in our DNA.
 It's why more than a third of our approximately 60,000 customers come from
referrals.  For more information on Cbeyond, visit www.cbeyond.com and follow
Cbeyond on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Cbeyondinc.

The Cbeyond logo is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=16243

CONTACT: Media Contacts:
        
         Helga Ojinmah
         (678) 370-2243
         helga.ojinmah@cbeyond.com
        
         Jackie Parker (on behalf of Cbeyond)
         (404) 929-0091 x220
         jparker@arketi.com

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