A roundup of small business surveys reveal:

Rising optimism

Small business owners and managers are as optimistic now as they were before the recession, according to a survey released by American Express.

Sixty-three percent of the 1,130 people surveyed last month are upbeat about their companies' prospects and the economy. That's up from 54 percent in a survey during the spring, and the best reading since 64 percent in September 2007, three months before the recession began.

The availability of loans and the health of their own cash flow helped feed optimism. Nearly 80 percent of the owners and managers said they're increasingly confident they can get capital to expand, up from 72 percent in the spring. Forty-three percent said they're concerned about cash flow, but that's down 49 percent in the spring.

Hiring plans rose slightly, with 37 percent expecting to take on new workers, up from 35 percent.

Worries about a bubble

People who invest in Silicon Valley startups have lost a little confidence in the market for small, high-growth companies. That's the finding of researchers at the University of San Francisco, whose Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index fell to 3.89 during the third quarter from 4.02 during the second three months of the year. That's the first drop in the index after a two-year advance.

The index is based on interviews with 33 venture capitalists. Some said they were concerned prices for Silicon Valley companies may have gotten too high and the price "bubble" could burst, leading to smaller gains or losses. Others believe the outlook is good for selling their stakes and making money off their investments.

Overall, confidence is still high, according to Mark Cannice, a professor of entrepreneurship and innovation who oversees the survey.

Entrepreneurs on the go

The owners of recently launched businesses are generally comfortable with technology, and many use mobile devices to get their work done, according to a survey by payroll company Paychex.

Eighty-two percent of the 250 owners surveyed said they feel comfortable with technology. And they reported spending nearly three-quarters of the time they're online using a laptop, tablet or phone.

Laptops get the most use from owners, who said they spend 40 percent of their online time on the devices. One-quarter of their online time is spent on phones and 9 percent on tablets.

--Associated Press

Published on: Oct 28, 2014