'We are finally getting busier'
Belfast Coffee Company: Jan Winton, who works at Belfast Coffee Company on Royal Avenue, said: "We have noticed an increase in people coming through the door in the last few weeks, more than over the Christmas period.
I think people are getting it tough in general and it was a slow January for business.
"However, moving into February, instead of winding down on a Friday afternoon, we have been getting busier and we are breaking even.
"I have definitely noticed a decline in people using credit cards."
• Asidua is a software consultancy and services company, based in Belfast with engineering and sales offices in Birmingham and Dublin. It employs over 130 people.
Chief executive Steve Brankin said: "In Asidua we are seeing a generally more positive trajectory for our business since the start of 2013.
"We agreed a couple of significant contracts just before the end of 2012, and the level of active engagement our sales and marketing team is seeing with organisations genuinely interested in our product and services offerings is definitely on the rise. Customers want to deal with companies that can do the job right, and do it right the first time – and that's what we do in Asidua. This is why we are continuing to invest in our infrastructure and expanding our teams this year."
• GM Marketing in Belfast sells and distributes pharmacy, grocery and food products across Ireland.
Managing director Gerard McAdorey said: ''These are tough economic times for both businesses and consumers. There is less disposable income available and companies are trying to reduce overheads and manage cash flow better.
"However, there are definitely opportunities for businesses to grow in Northern Ireland. You just have to work smarter.
"We have doubled our workforce over the last two years and are currently recruiting for an additional five team members.
"Attracting new business is also key in tough economic times and we have added a number of new brands to our portfolio, and have most recently been appointed as the distributor for Nestle Cereals. At the minute are also talking to a number of European companies to expand our product range and are also in the process of developing a range of our own label products."