About 57% are cautiously optimistic that the new year will bring an end to the pain of the recession and 92% of small business owners are considering pro-active strategies to prepare for an economic upswing, with 36% expecting to see their business grow in 2010.
The economy wasn't the only concern for small business owners in 2009. Aside from the recession, 38% said their biggest hurdle was retaining and growing their customer base, while managing cash flow was the toughest challenge for 34% of respondents. Keeping healthcare and insurance costs in-line (15%) and staffing issues (8%) were also sources of stress. Still, if given the chance, 35% of small businesses say they would have done nothing differently in 2009, while 24% would have done more sales and marketing. About 30% resolve to devote more of their time to sales and marketing efforts in 2010.
The survey polled small business owners in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the U.S. to understand the impact of the recession on small businesses. The survey was conducted for the Cherry Hill, N.J., and Portland, Maine-based TD Bank by Angus Reid Strategies from December 16 to 22, with small business owners (defined as business owners with fewer than 20 employees) using the Angus Reid Forum. The sample size included 575 men and women.--Tanya Irwin