Small business owners are starting off 2013 with a half-full glass, with 70% feeling optimistic about their performance this year.

This finding comes from Chase’s 2013 Business Leaders Outlook survey, which polled 2,600 small business owners with annual revenues between $100,000 and $20 million.

U.S. entrepreneurs are also looking at the local economy through rose-colored glasses, with more than half feeling good about the future in their area. But when it comes to the national economy, the mood shifts: 40% feel pessimistic about the future when it comes to the U.S.

This mix of feelings is reflected in cautious projections by small business owners. While nearly 60% feel revenues or sales will increase over the year, about the same number of business owners don’t plan to hire either full-time or part-time staff.

Business owners are also unwilling to spend more on the employees they’ve already got, as a majority say compensation will remain the same for company workers.

Aside from a negative outlook on the economy at large, regulations and high taxes are also to blame for small business owners’ hesitant attitudes toward hiring and spending. More than half (60%) say the current regulations make it difficult for small and medium businesses to expand, and slightly more than that say lowering taxes would be the single most important thing the government could do to support business.
 

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