After a prolonged stretch of dour forecasts, more small and medium-size business (SMBs) owners are saying conditions have improved. According to the Office Depot Small Business Index, confidence among small business owners is rising when they consider the next 6 months. This confidence encompasses sales, profits, and capital spending.
At the same time, significantly more SMBs have plans to expand their workforce. The recently published index showed that 26% of these businesses say they plan to hire more employees. In September, the number stood at 19%. Further, these companies are hiring because ‘business is improving’ (65%) and they expect greater ‘economic certainty/stability' (24%).
According to Neil Austrian, Interim Chairman and CEO for Office Depot, the company is hearing “that many small businesses are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel – unfortunately nobody knows for sure what that light is.” The results of the recent election and a new year on the horizon may also be fueling optimism. To reinforce these positive feelings during the upcoming holiday season, SMBs will give gifts to clients (38%) and to staffers (51%).
These positive changes in the SMB environment may also signal a willingness to increase expenditures on marketing as we move into 2011.[Source: Office Depot Small Business Index Reveals Small Business Confidence Slowly on the Rise. 2 Nov. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2010]