Staples survey: Small businesses are feeling more confident
Small businesses are feeling more confident about the economy --- so much so that many small business owners are even planning to get out of town and take a vacation.
So concludes a new survey commissioned by Staples Inc., the Framingham-based office supply giant that counts small businesses as among its best customers.
A case can be made that Staples is something of a canary-in-a-coal-mine when it comes to predicting the outlook for small businesses.
At the end of 2007, for example, when the economy was starting to tank, small businesses were scared and reluctant to spend money, especially on bigger-ticket items. “They were headed for the bunker,” the Globe’s Steven Syre noted in a 2009 column.
Today there are signs that small businesses are cautiously starting to emerge from the bunker.
In the Staples survey, 70 percent of respondents reported that they are planning to make changes that position themselves for growth, and nearly 40 percent said they are looking to increase marketing communications for the rest of the year.
What’s more, 67 percent are planning to take a summer vacation, and most say they are planning on a real “leave-town” vacation and not a so-called “staycation.”
The Staples press release subtly makes the point that it sells many of the technology devices that an off-duty small business executive could use to check up on employees while luxuriating in the incandescence of an umbrella drink served up at some far-away beach-front resort.
Staples said its Internet survey was conducted by Decision Analyst Inc. The Texas-based research firm surveyed a nationally representative random sample of 501 owners and executives of American businesses having no more than 20 employees. Interviews were conducted in mid May.Chris Reidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.