Survey: Growing Number of Small Businesses Believe the Worst May Be Behind Them

Despite a recession that has turned entrepreneurship into an uphill battle, Crain’s New York reports that a survey released this week shows a growing number of small-business owners believe the worst may be behind them.

Two-thirds of small business owners say they are stressed out about the state of the economy this year, up from 55 percent in February 2008, but down from 71 percent in August, according to the American Express OPEN Economic Pulse survey. Less than half of business owners say they’re currently operating at lower profit margins, compared with 56 percent in August.

In addition, more than a third of small-business owners say it’s taking longer to receive payment from customers, compared with 27 percent in February 2008, according to the survey. And 75 percent say they are more averse to risk now than they were before the economic crisis.

And although layoffs nationwide have increased the pool of job applicants, only 17 percent of small-business owners said they plan to hire, compared with more than a third in August. Eight percent plan to cut back, compared with 3 percent six months ago.

Despite the trials ahead, 80 percent of small-business owners said the rewards and opportunities of running their own business outweigh the risks and challenges. Those findings echo a similar survey conducted by PayCycle Inc., in which 87 percent of small-business owners said they have no regrets and would start their business over again if they had to.

The American Express survey questioned 600 small business owners or managers between January 27 and Februar 20, 2009. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

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