With the economy growing 4.1% in Q3, consumer spending rising and unemployment edging lower, small-business owners are an optimistic bunch heading into 2014, with many even feeling that next year could be a breakout one.
In a survey, three-quarters of owners said they expect sales to improve in 2014, while the small-business "confidence index" hit an 18-month high of 108.4 in December.
"It's hard not to be optimistic," says Bill Brown, who runs a construction firm in California. "We're struggling to keep up with demand and I don't see this stopping any time soon."
Still, the horizon isn't devoid of clouds, including the roll out of Obamacare to small companies.