Amidst news that the recession may finally be fading, Discover’s Small Business Watch unit reports that small business owners are feeling more optimistic. Discover analyst Ryan Scully reports that “[t]his month we have a few more signs that they may be ready to start trying to grow their seattle_washington_downtown_507678_lbusinesses again, and that the worst may be over.” The Discover unit’s index saw small business owner confidence rise to 89.8 in August, its highest level since February 2008.

For many participants in the survey, it’s a case of conditions no longer deteriorating. For example:

  • Those who think the economy is getting worse: 43% (this is the lowest reading in 3 years and marks significant improvement)
  • Those who think the economy is poor: 48% (this is the lowest percentage since February 2008)

But other entrepreneurs are feeling more optimistic and say:

  • Business conditions are improving 30%
  • They plan to increase spending on advertising and other items 27%

As to where this spending might actually occur, it’s a good idea to consider the following list. This represents the entrepreneurs’ best guesses about where growth will occur in the near future:

  • Green industries 13%
  • Business services 10%
  • Energy 9%
  • Technology 9%
  • Financial services 8%
  • Foodservice/restaurants 6%
  • Manufacturing 5%
  • Retail 4%
  • Transportation 2%
[Source: Discover Small Business Watch release, August 2009]