By Rieva Lesonsky

How are you feeling about your business going into 2011? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the answer is “positive!” Being an optimist myself, I was excited by the results of the latest survey our company, GrowBiz Media, did in collaboration with Zoomerang, the world’s first Web-based survey tool.

Our previous survey of small business owners’ 2011 marketing plans got such great results, Zoomerang’s Alex Terry and I created a new survey to learn about your overall plans for 2011. The “Small to Midsized Business: Plans for 2011” survey asked more than 1,000 owners, partners and general managers of small companies (most of them with 25 or fewer employees) what they’re planning for next year. Here’s a look:

Seventy-two percent of SMB owners are optimistic about the economy in general; 30 percent think it will get better in 2011 and 42 percent say it will stay steady. When it comes to their own companies, 50 percent think sales will hold their own while 34 percent expect them to rise.

With that type of optimism, no wonder 25 percent of you are planning to hire new staff next year. And 64 percent say their staffing levels will remain the same—a nice change from the past few years of mass layoffs.

Entrepreneurs are also planning to invest in new technology for their businesses. Twenty-nine percent will upgrade software; 24 percent will upgrade hardware; 17 percent will revamp their websites and 15 percent will add or upgrade mobile technology.

As for marketing, the survey had one unexpected result: Just 33 percent of small businesses responding said they will use social media tools in their marketing mix next year. Given how effective social media can be for small companies on a budget, this answer really surprised me.

I hope you’re feeling as optimistic as our survey respondents about the coming year. What’s your outlook on 2011? I’d love to hear what you think. And to read more from our survey, visit the Zoomerang site.