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Taste Restaurant Is Located In North Haven, Conn. (Photo: Business Wire)

More small business owners are optimistic that the national economy will strengthen this year compared with the fall of 2012, yet more rate their risk-taking as conservative, according to The Hartford’s 2013 Small Business Success Study.

Christa and Mike Doran, coaches and owners of Tuff Girl Fitness in Hamden, Conn. (Photo: Business Wi ...

Christa and Mike Doran, coaches and owners of Tuff Girl Fitness in Hamden, Conn. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Risk-taking has always been the domain of America’s small business owners,” said Liam E. McGee, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The Hartford. “Today, many small business owners say that the Great Recession left them with scars and they are now more cautious in how and where they invest their capital. To get this growth engine of the economy growing again, small businesses need more clarity and certainty on what tomorrow will bring.”

The third annual study also finds that slow economic growth, taxes, uncertainty with federal regulations and healthcare costs continue to top the list of major risks to small business owners. However, the number of small business owners citing these factors as major risks to their business has significantly declined, suggesting they may be adjusting to the reality of today’s economic environment.

Optimistic, Yet Conservative

Forty-eight percent of small business owners are optimistic that the national economy will strengthen this year, compared with 33 percent in The Hartford’s 2012 Small Business Success Study. In addition, 79 percent of owners rate themselves as conservative rather than risky in the overall level of risk they are currently taking with their business, up from 73 percent in fall 2012.

Small business owners feel more optimistic about their local economy in the next six months than the national economy (48 percent versus 22 percent, respectively).

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