Most small business owners expect lackluster sales growth in the year ahead, according to a recent survey.
A quarterly poll by Gallup and Wells Fargo found that 54% of small firms expect their revenue will fall or remain flat in the next 12 months, up from 48% the previous quarter.
Also, fewer firms expect improvements in cash flow and credit access.
Of the 600 small business owners interviewed, 63% reported being too concerned about the state of the economy to make any new capital investments until mid-2013.
They reported that the previous 12 months had also worsened: 68% saw flat or decreasing revenues, up from the second quarter's 63%.
The survey did, however, show one positive sign. The overall index, a combined measurement of current business conditions and future sentiment, remained positive for the third quarter in a row, which is the longest stretch since 2008. More than half of the small firms remain pleased with their current financial situation.
"We are moving in the right direction. Most small businesses see the glass half full, they just realize the glass isn't as large as they'd like it to be," said Mark Vittner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo.