Small biz outlook: All doom and gloom?

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Wall Street hasn’t exactly been a font of optimism lately, and now Main Street is sharing in the economic gloom.

The National Small Business Association’s 2011 Mid-Year Economic Report, released Wednesday, shows that small-business owners are losing confidence in an economic recovery.

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group conducted an online survey of 400 members in late June and early July. It also produces a year-end report each December.

Nearly half of the small-business owners who responded said economic conditions are worse now than they were six months ago, and almost as many don’t expect their ventures to grow in the next year.

An overwhelming 88 percent of small-business owners surveyed think the economy will stall or fall back into recession in the coming year—the most pessimistic they’ve been since July 2009, during the throes of the economic meltdown.

Two-thirds of respondents cited economic uncertainty as the most significant challenge to their businesses. Other potential pitfalls: a decline in consumer spending, health insurance costs, regulatory burdens and the national debt.

Despite the preponderance of gloom and doom, 64 percent of owners nevertheless are confident about the future of their businesses.
So what do you think: Are NSBA members being pessimistic or realistic? How do you expect your business to fare in the current economic environment?

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