If there is one thing that remains true about American entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners, it is that they are certainly a hearty and resilient bunch. Despite difficult economic times for the past four years, the private sector has continued to push ahead toward greener pastures. However, even though many business owners maintain a positive attitude for dealings in 2012, others remain uncertain. Following are some of the improvements—and challenges—that small businesses face this year:

Optimism Abounds for 2012

According to a recent study by Schedulicity, the leader in online appointment scheduling for small, appointment-dependent businesses, 91 percent of respondents indicated that they expect their businesses to perform better than they did in 2011. Additionally, 66 percent of business owners expect a better overall economic environment than that present last year, while 26 percent expect the economy to remain unchanged this year.

Another hot topic in 2012 is the state of hiring in the job market, and survey results indicate an expected uptick in hiring. In fact, more than 40 percent of small business owners say they plan to hire between two and three new employees this year. For many business owners, this means bolstering their staffing numbers by almost 70 percent.[1]

Challenges Present in 2012

While the Schedulicity survey indicates that many small businesses feel optimistic about 2012, there are also some major challenges present. For example, according to a recent study by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, most small businesses cited uncertainty and weak sales as their main impediments to growth this year. Other challenges include the adverse impact of regulation (40 percent), lack of finance (41 percent), and lack of skilled workers (61 percent).[2]

While there are certainly some major challenges facing small business owners in 2012 as they try to recover from several years of a weak economy, research shows that most business owners remain optimistic in hopes for an upturn in the economy this year. With specific plans in place to add their own boost to the nation’s economy, small business owners just may accomplish their goals of increasing their employee numbers and improving their bottom line.

[1] http://www.marketwatch.com/story/small-business-owners-indicate-optimistic-outlook-for-year-ahead-2012-01-26

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/24/small-business-outlook-biggest-challenges_n_1190783.html#s605824&title=Getting_Consumers_to

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