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Things looking up for small businesses

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More than 63 percent of small businesses now have a positive outlook about their companies, according to the Metlife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Fourth Quarter Small Business Index.

The survey also showed:

More than half of small business owners expect their revenues to rise next year. A quarter of small business owners plan to increase investment in their businesses next year.

Nearly half of all small business owners said they feel “good” about the health of their local economies, but only 38 percent said they feel the same about the national economy ““ a drop in confidence from the third-quarter.

Holiday sales are not make-or-break for most small businesses. Two-thirds said holidays are not key to their overall profit, but, among retailers, 55 percent said the holiday season is important.

Only one-third of small businesses have plans in place to deal with a natural disaster. Fewer than half have formalized plans to deal with cybercrime.

A quarter of small businesses have little or no online presence due to time or staffing constraints.

About 68 percent of businesses said they are unprepared to handle any situation in which they would become unexpectedly short staffed.

The most confident about the small business outlook were owners in the south; owners in the northeast were least confident.

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