East Coast Small businesse Split On Prospects for 2013

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Small businesses are evenly split on their prospects for 2013. Cautious optimism is best.

As 2013 goes into full swing, small businesses on the east coast are communicating a mixed message when it comes to feeling out how this year will go for them.  ORC International conducted a survey of small businesses on behalf of TD Bank for companies with annual revenues of no more than $5 million on the east coast, from Maine to Florida.

The responses indicate that:

  • 49 percent of owners are confident that their businesses will be in better financial shape at the end of 2013 compared to 2012
  • 47 percent believe sales will be higher in 2013 relative to 2012
  • 59 percent expect to hire more workers

While the survey summary attempts to paint a positive light, my view is that these results are a mixed bag. If half of businesses are optimistic, it means half are not. Negative, unexpected events could cause some borderline (or the “somewhat optimistic” to use survey parlance) to temper their already tepid optimism.

There is great economic uncertainty ahead related to the federal government’s fiscal condition, healthcare reform, changes to the tax laws, interest rate instability and more. While business owners need to remain positive in order to keep running their businesses, it’s prudent to assume that 2013 may not be a year for growth. That may still be a few years away.


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