Despite the steady stream of grim economic news, a large majority of US small-business owners are optimistic about their company’s financial future, according to two nationwide surveys sponsored by UPS. In the first UPS Business Monitor United States, conducted between September and October last year, 91 per cent of small-business owners or managers said they expect their company to be in the same or better financial shape in a year than it is today. A follow-up survey, conducted in mid-December after economic conditions worsened, showed only a small decline in the first survey’s optimism, with 86 per cent of small-businesses owners expecting their company to be in the same or better financial shape in one year. “Despite incredible changes in the economy, small businesses still see vibrant opportunities,” said Jim Beach, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee. “That eternal optimism and entrepreneurial spirit in the face of adversity is an asset that bodes well for the future of our economy.” Importantly, this optimism is rooted in realism as small-business owners surveyed do not project a speedy economic recovery. In the first survey, almost half (47 per cent) of small-business owners said they believe that the US economy will begin to improve in 2010 or later. That number climbed to 67 per cent in the December survey. The survey also revealed that small-business owners who engage in international trade were more likely to project that their business would be in a better economic position 12 months from now compared to those who did not. In the first survey, 56 per cent of small-business owners who engage in cross-border trade expect their company to be in a better economic position in one year, compared to 41 per cent of companies that did not trade. This gap widened in the second survey, with 62 per cent of small-businesses owners who trade internationally expressing optimism compared to 39 per cent of non-traders.
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