Support for small business has long been a hallmark of political stump speeches, but recent economic and technological changes have hit independent firms particularly hard.

The rise of e-commerce has clobbered small retailers. Government cutbacks have left small contractors chasing fewer contracts. Overall, small businesses actually saw less growth in employment than large firms in the past two decades, according to government data.

But some small Washington companies are bucking the trend. These business owners have found success by tweaking their business models or tapping into promising markets. One restaurateur is opening a retail store to sell more of her edibles. Returning soldiers get generous discounts on franchising. And a consultant for contractors opens up her bag of tricks.

Through their success, they shed light on the opportunities available for entrepreneurs both in the region and around the country.

Scarcity of strong applicants shifts bargaining power to qualified borrowers

Alternatives to bank loans offer new financingn options

Where entrepreneurs work: Inside D.C.’s business incubators

Returning from war and turning to franchising

After 5 eateries, restaurateurs go retail

Tech firm seeks new revenue streams

At National Harbor, indie boutiques court tourists and condo-dwellers

To weather the rough contracting market, be a sniper

Can you afford to start a business?