Michigan Business More Upbeat About Economy

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Forty percent of Michigan small business owners say the health of their business improved within the past year, according to a member survey conducted by the Michigan Business and Professional Association and the Michigan Food and Beverage Association.

And 61 percent of the respondents believe that their business’ health will improve in the coming year.

This is an uptick compared to last year’s results, which showed that just 22 percent of those surveyed said their business health improved in the last year and only 50 percent expected it to improve in the coming year.

When asked about the changes they made in their business over the past year to cope with the challenging economy, respondents said they invested in new technology, restructured debt, strengthened branding and marketing efforts and added new services and products, according to Jennifer Kluge, president and CEO of both associations.

“This is good news coming from a major component of our state’s economy – small businesses,” Kluge said. “They are more positive about the state’s economic future. In fact, 34 percent of them said they believe the state’s economy will noticeably improve within the next year. I take this as a sign that our state government and its quick movement to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax and get new business initiatives into the pipeline are giving business owners hope.”

The April/May survey of Association members offered insights into how a cross-section of small business owners feel about current business conditions:
* 27 percent increased staff within the past year
* 34 percent planned to increase staff in the next year
* 16 percent have considered moving to another state, down from 19 percent in the 2010 survey
* 39 percent said they were planning significant changes in the next year, such as increasing office space and expanding into new markets.

While the survey results were generally positive, Kluge said there are still challenges out there.

“Members said that increased gas and energy-related prices, the rising cost of health care insurance and increased government regulations are negative factors affecting their business,” Kluge said.

Based in Warren, the Michigan Business & Professional Association is the largest business organization of small to medium-sized businesses in Michigan, representing more than 20,000 members who employ over 200,0000 persons. Members include attorneys, physicians, architects, accountants, construction companies, banks, retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and the like.

Member businesses receive numerous benefits including free legal and financial consultations; discounted technology, automotive and office products; employee training and recruitment assistance; and competitive insurance rates. The MBPA is a sister association to the Michigan Food & Beverage Association, which has more than 3,400 members. Visit them online at www.michbusiness.org or www.michfood.org or call (586) 393-8800.

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