If Small Businesses Were President for a Day

Small businesses are feeling more optimistic about financial prospects, however many still believe the economy is in a recession. If they were in President Obama's shoes for one day, business owners responded that they would lower taxes, reduce regulation and tackle health-insurance issues.

According to a new survey from the U.S. Bank, 71% of small businesses believe the U.S. economy is still in recession mode. The third Small Business Annual Survey also found more small companies are describing their own financial health as "good," "very good" or excellent," with 69% of the response. This is up from 64% in 2011.

"Small business owners are creating ways to succeed, despite lingering concerns about the economy," Rick Hartnack, vice chairman of consumer and small business banking at U.S. Bank, said in a statement.

"Business is rebounding, especially among businesses with at least $1 million in annual sales and five or more employees. For those businesses, prospects for growth are particularly strong, as are their plans to hire."

In addition to feeling optimistic about their own business prospects, larger businesses with more than $1 million in annual sales are planning on hiring. Thirty-four percent said they plan to bring on additional workers in the next year, and 58% expect revenue to grow in 2012.

Going into the election season, small business owners' number-one concern is health-care reform with 60% of businesses saying they believe it will negatively impact their companies, the survey found.

Economic uncertainty is still a major issue for small companies, however, poor sales was cited by only 12% as their top issue after being named their second-biggest challenge for the past two years running.

Other major election issues cited by respondents were jobs and unemployment, taxes, the federal deficit/debt and Social Security, in order of importance.

This compares to the 2008 elections, when the top five issues for small business owners were health-care and Medicare, Federal deficit/debt, jobs/unemployment, energy costs and taxes.

U.S. Bank surveyed 3,220 small business owners with less than $10 million in annual revenues.