Businesses Expect Increased Sales in 2011, Survey Finds

Among the top three areas of focus for businesses are software, hardware and a company's Website.

Heading into the new year, a majority of small to medium-size businesses are optimistic and are planning moderate changes in 2011, according to a survey of more than 1,000 SMB decision makers. With 84 percent of the SMBs surveyed predicting that sales will increase or remain the same, many businesses are looking to hire new employees and/or upgrade technology.
The survey, conducted by Zoomerang, an online survey tool for SMBs, and GrowBiz Media, an SMB content provider and consultant, is designed to provide insight into how the current economy is impacting business decisions of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. As a result of the positive outlook anticipated by the majority of respondents, 25 percent of those surveyed indicated they are planning to hire new staff in the next 12 months.
"With more than 27 million small and midsized businesses in the U.S., the optimism expressed in the survey could result in the creation of millions of jobs," said Alex Terry, general manager of Zoomerang. "In the past few years, businesses have adapted by finding more cost effective solutions, but businesses are telling us that 2011 will be a year for some increased investment."
In addition to hiring new staff, midmarket businesses are preparing to update their technology infrastructures. Among the top three areas of focus for businesses are software, hardware and the company's Website, at 29 percent, 24 percent and 17 percent, respectively. "These results indicate that we're finally ready to bounce back and invest in our businesses, which will naturally lead to economic growth," said Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media. "I am optimistic that America's entrepreneurs will once again lead the way, as we head back to prosperity."
The report follows a survey released earlier in the month by Prepaid Expense Card Solutions, provider of The Pex Visa Prepaid Card for Business, issued by The Bancorp Bank, a corporate Visa Prepaid card solution for midmarket companies. When asked whether their 2010 business performance has been better or worse than their expectations at the outset of the year, 71 percent of respondents noted "much better" or "somewhat better than expected."
Just 4 percent of business owners answered "worse than expected." Twenty-one percent said they'd been turned down for a bank loan or credit line in the past year, and 38 percent said that credit card companies had "unjustifiably" either lowered their card's credit limit or closed the account completely. Turning to 2011, respondents displayed an optimistic outlook about their business performance, with 34 percent of owners saying that they expected profits in the coming year to be "significantly better" than in 2010.