BMO Harris: Wis. business owners optimistic

Wisconsin’s business owners are optimistic about the year ahead, according to a study conducted by BMO Harris Bank.

Of those surveyed, 85 percent expect their businesses to remain steady or grow in 2014. But on the U.S. economy, business owners were less optimistic: 68 percent it will improve or stay flat in the coming year.

“The great news is that business owners have confidence in the prospects of their own individual businesses,” said Jeff Ticknor, managing director and head, Commercial Banking, Wisconsin. “However, while there’s been progress to date, there’s still some caution when it comes to the prospects for the overall U.S. economy.”

And 75 percent expect Wisconsin’s economy will hold steady or grow in 2014. About 40 percent expect it to remain flat, while 35 percent predict improvement.

When asked about the largest advantage of doing business in Wisconsin, the top five answers were: talent pool/skilled workers/work ethic, good government/governor/politicians, lower taxes, good business climate/environment and locally-owned businesses.

“We have many solid companies in Wisconsin that have weathered the economic downturn well,” Ticknor said. “Many are in better shape than they were five years ago, with stronger balance sheets and more efficient operations.”

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