Amid strict lending restrictions, slowly rising retail prices, and sluggish hiring, where are the bright spots for 2011?

The Wall Street Journal has compiled an in-depth report detailing the climate for small business in 2011. And guess what? It’s not so bad.

Small businesses are expected to increase their head-counts this year, more small businesses plan to increase retail prices in 2011, and new government programs should provide community banks relief necessary to free up loan dollars.

This doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch the frugality and belt-tightening lessons learned during the recession.

“Most improvements are expected to be marginal, likely benefiting only the healthiest small businesses while the rest continue to struggle, relying on survival tactics adopted during the recession, such as deep discounts to lure customers and operating with fewer hands.”

Photo by The Weather Channel.

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