Small Business CEO Outlook is Good for 2011

Near the beginning of 2010, we posted results of the “US Small Business Outlook 2010” sponsored by Forbes magazine. The study showed that 2010 was a ‘cautiously’ optimistic year for small business owners. A more recent study sponsored by called the “CEO Confidence Index” shows that small business CEOs are more confident and optimistic than ever for the year 2011.

This study is the largest survey of CEO confidence since 2003. The most recently published study from Q4 2010 polls 1,729 CEOs about their 2010 experience and 2011 outlook. The CEO Confidence Index shows that 58% of CEOs believe that the economic condition of the US has improved from a year ago. The confidence index leaped to 106.3 from 95.1 in Q3 2010, and it is up from 87.9 from Q4 in 2010. This shows that CEOs across the board are looking favorably to the economy in 2011.

Do CEOs expect their companies to earn more in 2011? Indeed! 77% of respondents said they expect to see higher total revenues in 2011, and 63% expect greater profits. With regards to increasing prices, only 39% of respondents said they plan to raise their prices, while the majority, at 53%, said their prices will remain about the same.

Jobs are a big issue when it comes to the US economic improvement, and the good news is that 54% of CEOs expect to increase the number of employees over the next 12 months. That is the first time in three years that the majority of CEOs expect to expand their work force. Most of those who expect to expand said they will do steadily over the next 12 months.

However, not all the news is positive. Only 20% of respondents said that it is easier to obtain credit than six months ago. Also, a whopping 65% of small business CEOs expect the new Healthcare Reform Bill to be bad for their business.

Whether you’re a new small business owner or an experienced small business CEO, the economic news for 2011 is looking rosy. Take a look at the full report and see how your expectations compare to other small business CEOs.

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