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Owners of small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) across the country are feeling optimistic, citing increased hiring and profit growth among key 2011 business predictions, according to the first semi-annual survey of business owners conducted nationally in November 2010 by Prepaid Expense Card Solutions, Inc., provider of The Pex Visa Prepaid Card for Business, issued by The Bancorp Bank, a member of the FDIC, a corporate Visa Prepaid card solution for midmarket companies.

When asked whether their 2010 business performance has shaped up to be better or worse relative to their expectations at the outset of the year, 71 percent of respondents noted “much better” or “somewhat better than expected.” Just four percent of business owners answered “worse than expected”. Twenty-one percent of business owners said they’d been turned down for a bank loan or credit line in the past year, and 38 percent said that credit card companies had “unjustifiably” either lowered their card’s credit limit or closed the account completely.

“What we noted in the survey’s results mirrors the anecdotal evidence we’ve gathered from conversations with our clients, specifically that 2010 has thus far been better than originally expected, and economic and business optimism is trending in a positive direction for 2011,” said Toffer Grant, CEO and founder of Pex Card. “America was built on the backs of small and mid-sized businesses. They are the engines that will power us back to a secure economic footing, which is why their opinions are a strong indicator of the financial future.”

Asked to rate on a 1-10 scale (with 10 being the most difficult) how hard it has been over the past year to maintain adequate cash flow for their businesses, 48 percent of owners ranked between 6-10, the “most difficult” end of the scale. Twenty-seven percent fell into the “least difficult” category, with rankings of 1-4. The cash flow issue was again raised in response to the question of “as a small business owner, which issues keep you awake at night?” The majority of respondents (65 percent) noted “sufficient cash flow” with “taxes” (31 percent), “volatile sales” (29 percent), and “debt” (25 percent) rounding out the top four answers.

For more, read the eWeek article: Small Businesses Optimistic About 2011: Survey.