Want to start your own small business? Better take a look at Gallup's annual small business confidence index first. It may give you second thoughts.

Gallup does the survey in conjunction with Wells Fargo, and has been doing so since 2003. The index's chart over that time would make a grand design for a theme park roller coaster — a ride perhaps more thrilling than most business people would want to take.

The good news is that the latest survey showed the index at its highest level since 2008. The bad news is that it's still far below its pre-recession peaks.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.