Anticipating a robust economic rebound, C-level executives at large companies have already begun investing in technology, new products and services, and marketing initiatives, according to a new report from Forbes Insights -- the custom research practice of Forbes Media -- and Gartner Research.
"Executives are optimistic and preparing for growth," concludes the study of some 650 executives surveyed late April and early May.
Top executives at small businesses, meanwhile, are putting the most emphasis on increasing their marketing and advertising expenditures.
On the technology front, executives see digital marketing and communication as the best tech investments for business growth, followed by customer relationship management and digital collaboration technologies, the report found.
More than half of large-company executives -- 53% -- said they are preparing strategies to be ready for the economic upturn, compared to just under half of mid-size businesses -- 49% -- and 41% of small businesses.
A full 78% of senior executives at large companies -- those with 1,000-plus employees -- reported being somewhat or very confident about achieving revenue growth in 2010.
Among leaders of small businesses -- under 100 employees -- 67% expressed confidence in 2010 growth.
Looking beyond 2010, 87% of executives were very -- 46% -- or somewhat -- 41% -- confident in their prospects for growth through 2012.
More than 92% of large-company executives expected revenue growth to occur before the end of 2012, and more than half -- 53% -- were very confident.
Also of note, a clear majority -- 60% -- of C-level executives list the Web as the their most vital information resource. Daily newspapers rank a distant second with 15%, followed by trade publications at 9%, magazines at 6%, and TV at 5%.
Likewise, executives report spending most of their time online -- an average of 15.9 hours per week -- for work and non-work activities, and excluding email.
TV time, meanwhile, accounts for an average of 10.3 hours a week, followed by radio, 6.9 hours; reading newspapers, 6.1 hours; and magazines, 6 hours.