Although one-half (52%) of small business owners say their business's economic situation is worse than it was 12 months earlier, almost three-quarters (73%) are optimistic about the future of their businesses, according to a February survey from Pitney Bowes.

As entrepreneurs attempt to overcome the financial challenges of a tough economy, they remain positive and resilient: If forced to close their businesses, 34% of surveyed small business owners say they would start a new career, while 28% would start a new business; 32% would retire.

Below, other findings from the Pitney Bowes small business survey, which interviewed 504 small business owners in the US about the financial state of their businesses and outlook for 2010.

Top Small Business Stressor: Declining Sales

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