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Big oil vs. small business

May 21, 2006

Small-business owners are showing less optimism than a year ago, according to one survey, and higher energy costs are contributing to their dampening spirits.

Sixty-eight percent of small-business owners see growth opportunities over the next six months, down from 85 percent from one year ago. More than eight out of 10 plan to emphasize customer service to encourage growth and more than half plan to cut business expenses.

To curb rising energy costs, 42 percent have cut down their energy use, while 29 percent of business owners have passed higher costs on to customers.

Despite the challenges of rising energy prices, seven out of 10 small-business owners would recommend going into business to others.

The survey was conducted by OPEN from American Express, which surveyed 618 small business owners and managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees during April.

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- The Associated Press

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