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Most Business Owners Optimistic About 2012

Small Business Authority releases market sentiment survey results.

January 12, 2012
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More than half (55%) of business owners are optimistic about the future, and 64% are optimistic about their 2011 year-end results, according to the December Small Business Authority Market Sentiment Survey.

Most of these business owners believe it will be easier to grow their sales going forward than to reduce their expenses.

Only 20% of respondents were pessimistic about 2012 and their 2011 business results.

“We’re pleasantly surprised at the optimism that is being generated by over 1,000 of our small business clients,” says Barry Sloane, chairman/CEO of The Small Business Authority, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider. “Optimism about their business and the economy and their ability to grow sales has not been apparent in recent months or years.”

Sloane attributes this optimism to recent declines in the unemployment rate, growth in consumer spending, and small hiring gains during the fourth quarter. “Whether this optimism will continue in the first quarter of 2012 is anyone's guess, given that consumer spending growth has not been accompanied by personal income growth.

“Putting that aside,” he continues, “the positive sentiment is clearly a positive sign for the market. If independent business owners become positive about the economy and their own businesses they will hire, spend, and make capital investments. It is potentially very good news for business going into 2012.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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