You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Survey: Entrepreneurs are Optimistic Two-thirds of respondents report remaining positive regarding the economy.

By Ray Silverstein

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs have just weathered six months of the worst economic conditions in decades. Obviously, you know very well how your business is faring, but do you know how your experience compares to that of your peers?

There is always much to be learned from our fellow business owners, which is why I recently conducted a "How Are We Doing?" survey among business associates and peer group members. Here are the findings:

  1. The Outlook Is Optimistic
    When asked what their experience has been during the last six months, 42 percent of respondents report that their experience was "not as bad as it could have been" and 25 percent reported that they "did surprisingly well." The remaining 33 percent said things were "worse than expected."

    Obviously, while this question measures outlook rather than actual results, it indicates that a full two-thirds of the small business community is in a positive frame of mind.
  2. Reducing Expenses Has Been Key
    For many small businesses, expense reduction has been an important survival strategy. 25 percent of respondents reported they resorted to layoffs, 11 percent reduced work hours and another 9 percent realized staff reductions through attrition.

    In addition, 16 percent of survey respondents cut benefits expenses by reducing healthcare costs and suspending/terminating retirement plan contributions. Others report that they reduced fixed expenses, such as rent and phone service, and limited travel and entertainment costs. As one respondent put it, "if it costs money, we try not to do it."
  3. Internet Activity Is Up
    A significant 76 percent of respondents reported that they're relying more on web-related activities, especially with regards to marketing and sales. Of this group, 42 percent revamped their website or increased SEO activity. Others are using more email marketing and utilizing social networking.

    Bottom line: the low cost of internet activity is moving many companies to market more aggressively online.
  4. The Year-End Forecast Is Split
    We asked entrepreneurs to rate their business outlook for the remainder of 2009. The responses formed a near-perfect bell curve, with a slightly optimistic lean. 36 percent of respondents weighed in at the middle, 37 percent say business will improve, and 26 percent were pessimistic. (We used a scale of 1 to 5, with one being the most pessimistic and five being the most optimistic, where do you fit in?)
  5. Our Top Concerns Are Cash, Credit and Costs
    When asked to list the top three issues facing their business, respondents repeatedly identified the same three worries: cash flow, credit availability and health care costs.

    Interestingly, when subsequently asked to identify the three top issues facing the small business community, respondents again raised these same issues. Cash is king--and never more so than in a recession. This is clearly what's on most people's minds.

There's no doubt about it, as entrepreneurs we can learn a great deal from what our peers have to say. If you're interested in receiving a detailed survey results summary, contact me.

Ray Silverstein is the president of PRO: President's Resource Organization , a network of peer advisory boards for small business owners. He is author of two books: The Best Secrets of Great Small Businesses and the new Small Business Survival Guide: How to Survive (and Thrive) in Tough Times . He can be reached at 1-800-818-0150 or ray@propres.com .

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

A Non-Profit Newspaper Published a Column Criticizing Facebook. Then Meta Blocked All of Its Posts.

Facebook's communications chief said that the posts were removed because of "a mistaken security issue."

Business News

A Look Inside the Company That Is Making $500 Million a Year Serving Italian Beef Sandwiches Made Famous by 'The Bear'

Portillo's CEO Michael Osanloo shares his secret to keeping hungry customers coming back again and again. (Hint: It requires a lot of napkins.)

Thought Leaders

How To Improve Your Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence in 7 Easy Steps

Using these simple but effective approaches will help a person in their business, life and relationships.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Elon Musk Reveals When Tesla Will Release Its First Robotaxi

Tesla's CEO says the fully autonomous Tesla taxi is arriving soon — in 122 days.

Business News

Walmart Shoppers May Be Eligible for $500 After Settlement

Walmart shoppers who purchased weighted goods or bagged citrus in the U.S. or Puerto Rico from late 2018 through early 2024 might be eligible for a share of a $45 million settlement.