It seems like the economic news today veers between just awful to plain horrifying. So I was surprised when I spoke with business owner David Sullivan today. Sullivan runs a contract manufacturing operation in upstate New York. His company supplies a wide range of industries, from supermarkets to schools to the auto business. And despite the hit the auto industry is taking, Sullivan was downright optimistic. He said the broad base of customers he serves has helped his business hold up well and weather the downturn in segments like the auto industry.
In fact, small business owners, a notoriously “cup half full” crowd, continue to look on the bright side. While the U.S. economy is shedding jobs at record rates, small business owners are still bucking that trend. According to the November survey by payroll processor SurePayrollhttp://www.surepayroll.com/scorecard/2008/november/review.asp, small business hiring in November was up 0.26% and 43% of business owners who responded to the survey said the economy was not negatively impacting their business. And 56% of those who answered the survey said they were optimistic about the economy, up from 44% in September.
Certainly there’s no doubt that many small businesses are suffering. And if the economic downturn ends up being as deep as some fear, this optimism may be short lived. But for now it seems entrepreneurs, already accustomed to overcoming some pretty tough odds, aren’t exactly wilting in the face of adversity.