WALTHAM, MA – According to the results of a recent survey conducted by Constant Contact, small business owners have a more positive outlook on the economy this year. Seventy-nine percent of small businesses revealed a confident to neutral economic outlook for the U.S. in 2010.

Constant Contact is based in Waltham, Massachusetts, and is a provider of marketing services for small organizations. Services they provide include email marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools. The results of the survey were announced in an April 12, 2010 news release at their website.

The survey, entitled “Small Business Attitudes and Outlook Survey,” was compiled from responses from over 6,800 small business owners and was conducted between February 22, 2010 and April 1, 2010. The survey was done by a targeted e-mail distribution.

The 2010 Small Business Attitudes & Outlook Survey was conducted in collaboration with other advocates for small businesses. The participating organizations were:

  • American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE)
  • Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC)
  • Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

ACCE, SCORE, and ASBDC are dedicated to the success of small businesses. The ACCE is a national association that serves the professional development needs of chamber professionals throughout the United States and Canada. The mission of the ASBDC is to help new entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership and to help existing businesses remain competitive in the complex marketplace of an ever-changing global economy. The purpose of SCORE is to be the “Counselors to America’s Small Businesses.” It was established in 1964 as a partner with the SBA (Small Business Administration).

The complete survey is available online as a free download at the Constant Contact website.

The 2010 survey reveals increased confidence among small business owners.

Among those polled, 79 percent describe their attitudes toward the U.S. economy over the next 12 months as falling within the range of confident to neutral. When respondents were asked, “What is your outlook on the economy over the next 12 months?” the positive to neutral responses broke down as follows:

  • 15.3% expect rebound in 1st half of 2010 (Positive)
  • 34.8% expect rebound in the 2nd half of 2010 (Positive)
  • 28.5% expect things will remain the same (Neutral)

The survey of almost 7,000 small business participants revealed their real attitudes. Small businesses anticipate economic growth in the coming year, they are finding ways to get by with less, they are looking at ways to be more efficient and they question support by government.

The following key findings about small businesses were revealed by the survey:

  • They anticipate growth in 2010
  • They are doing more with less
  • They are looking for new ways to be efficient as costs go up
  • They question government support

The survey covered a number of other topics. For example, when asked if small businesses planned on hiring additional employees this year if their business was growing significantly or even moderately, 61.5% said, “No,” while 38.6% said, “Yes.” It is clear from their responses that the majority of small businesses prefer to work with their existing staff levels despite significant growth.

When asked, “How, if at all, has your cost of doing business changed in the last 12 months?”

  • 15.4% said it had increased significantly
  • 50.2% said it had increased somewhat
  • 26.0% said it had stayed the same
  • 6.5% said it had decreased somewhat
  • 2.0% said it had decreased significantly

So even though small businesses feel that they will experience moderate to significant growth this year, they will still be facing the spectre of increased cost of operation. It appears that this can be one reason the majority of small businesses still won’t hire additional employees this year despite the fact that their business can be experiencing significant growth.

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