The news that GDP contracted in the third quarter vindicates people saying that the U.S. economy is going into a recession. Of course, you need two consecutive quarters of negative growth to be in an official recession, but it seems likely that more contractions are coming.
But take a look out your window. Notice that people are not lined up in the street for bread. War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death have not mounted their horses. I'm not trying to make light of a situation that is dire for many people, but just to say—for most small businesspeople in this country, life will go on as normal.
Don't just take my word for it. Intuit Inc. released a survey yesterday that found small-business owners are "optimistic but realistic" about the state of the economy. A strong 82 percent of small-business owners still see opportunities for their businesses, and 64 percent expect their business to grow. The survey is from the second week of October, so it definitely wasn't taken before the worst of this crisis (or at least what we hope was the worst).
While both of those numbers were lower than the comparable figures six months ago, they're still stronger than perhaps the conventional wisdom about a recession would have it.