The long days and sometimes sleepless nights that come along with being a business owner are certainly something we can all relate to. The challenges of the recession have made such diverse and significant impacts on companies, that it is challenging for owners to put their daily circumstances into clear perspective against changing conditions in the economy. Every business owner that I know has had to take a hard look at how they are organized, what they are selling, and how they connect with prospective customers. Add to that the need to remain relevant to current customers and one can understand why it has sometimes been difficult to sleep.

Is it too obvious to say that much of the frustrations and anxiety come from concerns over money? I mean, we set lofty (but attainable) goals and then spend our days trying to guide, help, and inspire our staff toward them. We look at our value proposition and try to evaluate if there really is value. We want to make a difference in the community by helping those who need it. We take on new challenges and try to improve our own abilities. But, no matter what we do or how well we do it, typically our headaches come from not having enough money. And when the future’s prospects look bleak or are difficult to define it is even tougher. I think this is the way a lot of small business owners have been feeling.

The interesting thing is that even as we endure the nightmares about making the payroll, funding new marketing and paying our own bills, our days are often spent dreaming about how things are going to work out. A report that was just issued called “U.S. Small Business Outlook 2010: Lessons Learned – A Case for Greater Optimism” published on shows that small business owners are feeling more confident and better positioned than ever.

The report indicates that the financial crisis has forced us to look at how we operate and how we continue to provide value to our markets. It shows that the vast majority of small business owners believe that 2010 will be a growth year for them in spite of a lack of help from national, state, or local governments. It indicates that there will be increased investment in new initiatives, partnerships, marketing and technology. Overall, it shows that a lot of things have been figured out during those long nights and that small business has decided to embrace the new day and continue to hold the economy together just like it always has.

We all have our challenges. No two are exactly the same and none of us will escape having them. But keep your chin up and take heart in the fact that you will work your way through the ups and downs. You will solve your business riddles. You will remain the captain of your destiny. It is simply what entrepreneurs do.

I recently had a friend suggest that we should go horseback riding and asked when I could be available. I said that I could go most any day at any time. He commented that he was amazed and that it would be nice to have such flexibility of time. I just smiled. He probably hadn’t started his day at 2 a.m.