By Rieva Lesonsky

The holiday season isn’t bringing much cheer to small-business owners surveyed in the recently released  Discover Small Business Watch for November. The Discover Small Business watch index of business owner optimism fell 12 points in November to 76.5 from 88.5 in October. (However, this was an increase from the November 2008 index of 67.5, which was the lowest point for the Watch since it started in August 2006.)

Here are some highlights of the November report:

  • 52 percent of business owners surveyed have experienced cash flow issues in the past 90 days, up from 44 percent in October.
  • 53 percent of small-business owners believe their company’s situation will get worse in the next six months, up from 43 percent in October. Nineteen percent think their situation is improving, down from 29 percent in October. Twenty-three percent say things will stay the same.
  • 62 percent of small-business owners rate the economy as poor, an increase from 55 percent in October; 30 percent rate it as fair, and 8 percent say it is good or excellent.
  • 53 percent of small-business owners think the overall economy is getting worse, up from 44 percent in October. Twenty-eight percent say the economy is getting better, down from 35 percent in October; 16 percent think it is staying the same.

As for this holiday season’s outlook, just 11 percent expect to do more business this year compared to this time last year, while 46 percent expect to do less business.

What’s your outlook? I’d like to know.