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Office Depot Small Business Index Reveals Positive Expectations for the Economy and Optimism for Business Growth in 2011
added: 2011-03-21

Office Depot, celebrating 25 years as a leading global provider of office supplies and services, announced the results of its latest Office Depot Small Business Index – a monthly survey commissioned to gauge the economic trends of small businesses in America.

According to the February edition of the Office Depot Small Business Index, there is a new positive outlook with more small businesses anticipating higher company sales, profits and capital spending. However, America’s small business community remains concerned about their finances, believing that interest rates from banks/savings accounts, CDs, etc. will increase, and expect rates in loans to increase as well.

Small- and medium-sized businesses expressed a positive view on the economy with better than half (56 percent) expecting it to improve and most anticipating an increase in their company’s sales and profits (70 and 67 percent, respectively). A majority of the respondents (80 percent) remained concerned about inflation and the difficulty in obtaining bank loans and financing (74 percent) this year. Hiring expectations continue to be weak, as eight in ten of the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) surveyed do not anticipate adding staff in the next six months.

“Small businesses remain the lifeblood of the economy, and while our survey shows that many are predicting growth this year, we continue to see them raise concerns about the costs of doing business,” said Neil Austrian, Interim Chairman and CEO for Office Depot. “That is why Office Depot remains so focused on doing everything we can to help this segment succeed by providing the right products and services tailored to their everyday business needs.”

With tax day, April 18, approaching, Office Depot asked small businesses how they prepared for this critical business event and what issues they face. Some of the findings included:

- Most companies do not wait until the last minute to file, with 82 percent submitting their taxes by the end of March. However, polarization exists in terms of how taxes are done, with about half doing them in-house and half outsourcing. The vast majority of the small- and medium-sized businesses submit their taxes electronically.

- While most of the SMBs believe that they’ve maxed out the refund they can expect, over 4 in 10 do not anticipate getting any money back this year.

- When asked about their knowledge of the tax code, fewer than half are aware of their state’s tax changes, while capital gains is the area that generates the most confusion – twice as high as healthcare and about 4 times greater than either real estate or 401K plans.

Source: Business Wire

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