Small business owners believe the worst is over for the US economy, although they still think conditions are fair or poor, according to a Citigroup survey released Wednesday.
Raj Seshadri, Citigroup's head of small business banking, told CNBC 68 percent believe the worst is over, with 53 percent saying 2011 is "steady as a rock."
"The stability is what struck us," she said. "There is optimism out there."
Citi surveyed 1,004 US businesses with revenue over $100,000 and no more than 100 employees by phone last month.
Sixty-nine percent say their business is better or about the same as a year ago while 31 percent say it is worse.
The survey also found 83 percent expect another economic downturn and 73 percent said they are prepared for it. The biggest challenges seen for small business are the cost of gas and energy (33 percent), the rising cost of raw materials (18 percent) and inflation (15 percent).