Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 23, 2003) -- Small business owners see the economic light at the end of the tunnel and expect to exceed record spending levels in 2004, according to a new survey.

The study by City Business Journals Network found that entrepreneurs are very optimistic about both the short- and long-term future of their businesses.

The research found that 78 percent of the business owners believe business prospects will improve over the next year. And 32 percent of owners reported plans to boost spending next year, compared to only 20 percent of owners polled in a similar study during the go-go late 1990s. The categories where business owners expect to spend the most are technology, office equipment, and telecommunications.

"Optimism is back among business owners," said Godfrey Phillips, vice president of research and marketing for City Business Journals Network.  "For the first time in nearly three years, planned spending among small business

owners is near record levels."

The research, administered by Kadence Business Research, surveyed more than 900 small and mid-size business owners (defined as companies with one to 99 and 100 to 499 full-time employees) from May to August 2003.  Respondents, which included owners, presidents, CEOs and general managers, were randomly selected from a Dun & Bradstreet database.

-- WebCPA staff

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