) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Another day, another depressing pulse of small-business owners.

Small-business owners are less confident that the economy will strengthen next year, according to the latest

The Hartford 2012 Small Business Success Study

. The survey found that just one-third of small-business owners polled expect the economy to strengthen next year, compared with 61% who expected the economy to strengthen in the company's spring

Small Business Pulse


Despite their economic outlook, 68% of owners say they are moderately to extremely successful, largely consistent with results last year.

Slow economic growth, higher taxes and uncertainty with federal regulations are seen as the major risks for small-business owners. Three-quarters of those polled expect their taxes to rise. If those expectations are met, 66% of owners say they will offset the impact by passing along costs to customers, 58% say they would delay expansion plans, 55% say they would also reduce personal investments in their business and 54% say they would not hire further.

The survey polled 2,004 owners of companies with fewer than 100 employees and annual revenue of $100,000 or more that have been in business for at least one year.

2. There's one week left to submit a business plan for The MillerCoors business plan competition.

The 2013


(TAP) - Get Report

Urban Entrepreneurs Series

was developed in 1999 to help urban entrepreneurs fund their start-up businesses or companies that have been in business for less than five years.

The program consists of two components -- an online business resource including webinars and social media platforms for emerging entrepreneurs and the business plan competition. The competition is open to businesses in marketing, sales, corporate services, brewery operations and IT.

This year's competition has a prize pool of three grants totaling $125,000. The winners of the competition could be considered by MillerCoors for participation in their supplier diversity program. The competition is open to all business owners over the age of 21. Applicants have until Oct. 26 to submit their information.

Since the program's inception, it has awarded more than $1.7 million to businesses in urban communities across the U.S.

3. Are these people holding your small business back?

It's important for small-business owners to surround themselves with trusted advisers and supporters when just getting their business off the ground, but there are several personality types that will just hold you back.

says to get rid of these nine types from your inner circle: devilish advocates; raving fans; inside scoopers; backstabbers; geocentrists; roadblock prophets; schmoozers; maintenance schedulers; and the walking dead.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Follow @LKulikowski

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to:


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