Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 31 seconds

BUSINESS GETS BETTER, BUT NOT GREAT

builder mt logoUsually, press releases like this leave me cold. "BuilderMT Roars Out of 'The Great Recession.' In Just the Last 90 Days, Builders Totaling 4,000+ Starts Sign with BuilderMT." But given how bad the economy has been, and the construction market in particular, reports like this help build a convincing case that the economy has moved off the swamp floor. That doesn't mean we're near the roaring success of a couple of years ago. But we can realistically hope for better.

The press release from Builder MT, which markets a variety of software packages that work in tandem with Sage's Timberline, is but one of several glimmering lights that are getting brighter. About mid-August, AccountMate CEO David Dierke said his company was seeing new business in the previous 60 days, compared to revenue coming solely from the installed base. That's a message that's also being spoken by some good resellers of other products.

And in the last week, Intuit reaffirmed its guidance for expected financial performance for the year ending July 31, 2010. Company executives would probably agree with the thought that fiscal 2010, like 2009, looms as a good, not great year. But predictions of 4 percent to 8 percent revenue growth for the Small Business Group (the QuickBooks operations) and 5 percent to 9 percent growth for its TurboTax operations, is not bad even if it's not the double-digit growth that Intuit has become accustomed to.

A backhanded optimism emerged from Epicor on September 16 when CFO Michael Pietrini told investors at a Goldman Sachs conference that, "It’s not getting any worse. As odd as it is, it’s a very encouraging sign."

It's no gold rush, to be sure. There's no prospector running out shouting to the market "Thing's aren't getting worse. Things aren't getting worse." Sure, normally, that's not an exciting message. But than, what's been normal in the last year?

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