By Rieva Lesonsky

How are you feeling about your business and our economy? Well, if the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index is an accurate measure, the answer is “pretty darn good.” According to the latest study, U.S. small business owners’ feelings about the current state of their companies, as well as their future prospects, are the most optimistic they have been since the July 2008 Wells Fargo/Gallup study, conducted just when the Great Recession took hold.

Small business owners in the Wells Fargo/Gallup survey felt pretty good about their current situation, but where they’re really optimistic is in their expectations for the next 12 months. Small business owners predict improvement in terms of their overall financial situation, cash flows, and credit availability.

Viewing the Wells Fargo/Gallup survey, I was reminded of the old saying, “Act the way you want to be, and soon you will be the way you act.” In other words, perception matters more than reality. Wells Fargo/Gallup survey notes that small business owners’ expectations for the future have more bearing on what they do than does their current situation.

I hope you’re feeling optimistic about your business’s prospects, but if you’re not, why not try acting as if you are?

  • Invest in new technology instead of scrimping and making do with old, outdated equipment. It makes a huge difference.
  • Think big and long-term. Start that project you’ve been putting off.
  • Reward your employees—if not financially, with time off, flextime or other free benefits.
  • Market your heart out. Reaching out to customers reminds them you’re still here to help them.

What would it look like for you to truly believe in your business and its future? It might be different for every small business owner. Take some time to think about it—and then act on it. I’ll see you on the sunny side of the street.