Small businesses hopeful despite ongoing financial hardship

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The economy may be rebounding on Wall Street, but to many small business owners, its effects on their business operations are worse now than it was a year ago. This is among the latest findings of a survey from Pitney Bowes, conducted by International Communications Research.

The survey reveals that 52% of small business owners view their store's economic situation as “struggling.” Despite this, 73% of respondents feel hopeful about the future of their businesses or at least resilient if forced to close, with 28% saying they would start a new business and 34% saying they would start a new career.

“The fact that small businesses are taking an optimistic approach to their financial situations shows real promise for organizations and consumers as the economy recovers,” said Elizabeth Reinhart, PR specialist at Pitney Bowes. “It's been shown that small businesses provide most of the jobs in this country, so as they show signs of financial recovery, we can all be optimistic about the future.”

Among the obstacles cited by small business owners contributing to their current financial turmoil are decreased sales (74%); health care costs (52%); and late payments from customers (42%). Also, eight in 10 of those polled admit they are very worried about cash flow.

Even as they grapple with financial straits, many small business owners feel there are other options for them to take before they close their doors: 34% said they would lay off employees or change their products or services; 31% said they would cut their hours of operation; and 29% said they would purchase technology to improve the efficiency of their business.

“The Pitney Bowes survey revealed the agility of small businesses to adapt in today's economy to stay in business for the long haul,” said Christine Martine, senior director of customer marketing and strategy at Pitney Bowes, in a statement. “Small businesses are a cornerstone of this nation's economy, which makes their success of the utmost importance for the economic recovery of America.”

The telephone survey polled 504 small businesses in the US.

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