There’s been some (more) talk lately of “green shoots” on the small business landscape. A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses found a 2.1 percent increase in the NFIB’s Index of Small Business Optimism and concluded that “the worst is likely over.” Another survey, by PNC Bank, found that small business owners and execs are, if not optimistic, at least less pessimistic. “With this decline in pessimism, it could be said that going down less is the new up,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Bank.
Treasury hints at help for Main Street. Small business optimism could improve a lot more should the U.S. Treasury stop speaking in riddles and put together an actual aid program for struggling small businesses.
Looking for a loan? Move to Minnesota. There are several steps you can take to improve your odds of landing credit. Increase your cash flow, pay down debt, and don’t wear flip-flops to your meeting with the loan officer. Or just move to the Midwest. Seriously. A map of loans made under the America’s Recovery Capital program shows 352 ARC loans handed out in Minnesota, 264 in Wisconsin, and 141 in Iowa. While California checks in with a woeful 68, Texas 61, and New York 52. Why the disparity? There are theories (people in the Midwest are more friendly), but nobody knows for sure.
Get ready for the next recession. That’s the advice from Fortune magazine. It sounds a little apocalyptic. But in fact the advice makes good sense. Be lean . . . but lean forward, the magazine advises, citing several examples of companies that have grabbed market share from competitors by acting aggressively at the home office and in the market.