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It’s hard to believe only two short months ago the level of optimism in the business world was light years away from the current mood.

Even though the economy already was shaky before the collapse of a handful of banking institutions in late September that seems to have caused a global recession, we hadn’t quite reached the sense of doom that followed. Unemployment is growing, the stock market keeps acting like a yo-yo, retail is down and credit keeps getting tighter.

So it was surprising to get a news release this week from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) with optimistic predictions for the coming year. Based on a poll of 777 small and midsize businesses in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, the study indicates that though cautious about IT spending, respondents were nevertheless optimistic about expansion plans 12 months out.

A closer look revealed the survey was conducted in September, and since the financial catastrophe didn’t come until later in the month, it became clearer why the results seemed so optimistic.

The study found that 85 percent of SMBs polled were planning to hire new employees over the following 12 months, 54 percent anticipated revenue growth of at least 10 percent or more, and 40 percent were planning to open new business locations.

It’s highly unlikely many of those companies would give the same responses if they were polled today.

With credit getting tighter and sales on the decline, small and midsize businesses are putting off some IT expenses while looking at ways to get the most out of their investments in IT services and equipment. The mentality is shifting from must-have to do more with less.