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Small Business Digest


Small Business Outlook Gloomier For 2007, Fiscal Conservatism Reigning As Other Trends Reported

For the first time since starting its polling in 2000, this newsletter finds a decidedly gloomy outlook emanating from readers.  The latest poll of more than 2,000 small business leaders, most of whom are owner/presidents, shows a less than upbeat view from a majority (51%).

This result is a marked contrast from last years poll in which 62% said they had a positive outlook going into the new year.  At the same time, the number of respondents with a strong positive view was up from 31% to 42% with the remainder having a somewhat positive outlook.

Taken together with other parts of the survey, showing expenditures being held at current (44%) to less than current (17%) indicates a slowdown in investment and expansion.

More than 1,800 business leaders also gave indications of their fiscal management plans.  When asked how they plan to handle debt, the following responses were reported.

There have been many changes in the United States and around the world in 2006 and even larger changes expected in 2007.  With the closing of 2006, some other trends are appearing from such watchers as The Trends Journal.

#1 China

Some believe that China will weigh in as the worlds economic heavyweight and a major military contender long before the century ends.  China is beginning to take on more American characteristics.  While still a totalitarian regime, Chinas focus has shifted from enslavement to entrepreneurship.

#2 Changes in Representation

Citizens are demanding that their government find higher moral ground, their representatives improve their conduct, and their nation raise the bar of ethical standards.  While it is not yet known whether those elected will follow through with campaign promises, it is clear that the power shifted parties in the Congress after the 2006 election.

#3 The Middle-East

The US has admitted that it has taken some blows in the fight to stop civil unrest in Iraq and that we have some challenges to face in 2007 in order to succeed in our objectives.

#4 Immigration Backlash

The United States, as well as several European countries, saw immigration battles and struggles in 2006 as countries and its citizens tried to control who was entering their borders and through what methods.

#5 Alternative Energy Movement

With the cost of oil rising considerably in 2006, industry and financers turned their focus to investigating and improving upon the ability to use solar, wind, hydrino power, charged clusters, permanent magnets, and cold fusion as alternatives to oil.  It is expected that this focus will continue.

#6  Medical Tourism

As consumers became more conscious of the costs of healthcare on their pocketbook and premiums, they are going to new steps to find the best medical treatments at the best prices, even if they have to leave their home country to locate it and generating a new industry called medical tourism.  This industry is now being marketed to consumers by countries that believe they have quality and low-cost services to offer.

#7 Old School is Cool

Americans are finding the present society lacking in many areas and are now turning to values and qualities from the past to spark the American Spirit again. 

#8 The Internet Candidate

It is likely that much of the battles and campaigning for the 2008 presidential election will occur over the Internet.  Television and radio ratings are down, while the use of the internet is growing thanks to advances in broadband access, multiple generations using computers to share information, and the advantages of low-cost or free advertising that reaches a much larger and varied audience.

#9 Technotribalism

Again, thanks to the Internet, people with common beliefs, values and interests are able to unite around the world and share information, ideologies and resources with each other.  It is expected that this will continue to expand into even more online communities and social networking.

#10 America the Beautiful

Citizens in countries around the world are beginning to change their mind about the typical ugly American and are once again recognizing the values and reasons that our country was founded and has continued to succeed and grow.  While perceptions are not all positive, it is expected that this new feeling will continue to grow.

Adapted from the Winter 2007 issue of The Trends Journal

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