February 24, 2009 12:30 ET

More U.S. Small Businesses Expect the General Economy to Improve Over the Next 12 Months Compared to Six Months Ago, Says Latest Small Business Research Board Study; Economic Conditions Main Concern

BUFFALO GROVE, IL--(Marketwire - February 24, 2009) - More small business owners and managers in the U.S. reported that they expect the economy to improve in the next 12 months as compared to the second quarter of 2008. In addition, 41% reported that economic conditions are their main concern, according to the latest Small Business Research Board (SBRB) study released here today.

The quarterly nationwide SBRB study indicated that small business owners and managers throughout the U.S. reported higher levels of expectations for the next 12 months. 40% of the respondents indicated that they expect the economy to improve. This is a 12 point increase from the second quarter of 2008. Looking forward 12 months, 32% of the respondents expect revenues to remain the same and 42% predict their hiring rates to remain consistent. The fourth quarter poll was co-sponsored by IPA.

The poll also indicated that economic conditions have taken over as the top issue that owners and managers feel is currently having the greatest impact on their small businesses. 15% of respondents said that costs of materials were impacting their businesses; this is an increase of seven points over the previous report. As well, 15% of respondents said that taxes were impacting their businesses; this percentage remained consistent from the second quarter of 2008. Only 7% reported that fuel costs were impacting their businesses. This is a 19 point decrease from the last reported quarter. In the second quarter of 2008, energy/fuel costs tied with economic conditions as the top issues impacting businesses.

More than 500 owners and managers participated in the study.

The Small Business Research Board ascertains and reports the opinions of small business owners and managers on a wide variety of topics related to their own businesses as well as national and international issues that may impact their operations. The SBRB conducts these studies for the benefit of small business owners and managers. The SBRB also provides opportunities for third parties to gain real time insight into the attitudes of small businesses nationwide through the independently conducted research.

The universe of participants is developed from among small businesses across the United States. The SBRB study is a voluntary survey conducted via phone and e-mail. The latest information about the Small Business Research Board can be found at

IPA is the largest privately held provider of management consulting services to small and medium-size businesses in North America. IPA, based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., and its more than 1,600 professionals offer a wide range of proven and innovative methodologies to help businesses grow and prosper regardless of the economic cycle. IPA either provides directly, or through its affiliated companies, a comprehensive array of business advisory services, tax and estate planning services or merger, acquisition and other financial advisory services in the United States and Canada. More information about IPA can be found at

For more information about this poll, results of previous studies or other matters related to the SBRB, please contact Jennifer Cumbee, (847) 495-6786.

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