Every year, I have the great honor of being invited to attend an editors forum with the board of directors of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce's Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE).
I often refer to these folks as BizTimes Milwaukee's de facto board of directors. They're the people we're writing about. They're the people we're writing for. And in some cases, they even contribute some of our writing.
It's a great way to keep our ears to the ground about what's happening in the local economy.
That's why BizTimes was among the first to declare that a recession had begun in 2008. That's why BizTimes was among the first to declare that the worst was behind us and a recovery had started at our Economic Trends Breakfast in January of 2010. And it's a key reason why BizTimes is among the first to declare that 2011 will be a strong year of recovery, exceeding most widespread expectations.
In an exclusive BizTimes online survey of COSBE board members recently, the majority of the respondents expect 2011 to be a year of more revenues, more hiring and more investments in technology or equipment for their companies.
When asked to describe their expectations for 2011, 63.2 percent replied it will be a "good" year, and 21.1 percent said it will be a "great" year. Furthermore, only 15.8 percent are forecasting a "flat" year, and none of them are predicting a "bad" year.
Other highlights of the survey include:
89.5 percent expect their companies' revenues to grow.
63.2 percent expect their companies to add to their workforce.
63.2 percent plan to hire temporary help.
52.6 percent expect to make significant investments in new technology or equipment.
At our editors forum, I asked the COSBE board members to describe the actions they are taking to grow their companies in 2011. Here is a sampling of their replies:
Mary Isbister, president of GenMet in Mequon, plans to "double" her business this year by adding talent, making capital investments an…