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Grass Not Always Greener in This Economy, Say Small Business Owners

According to a recent survey, small business owners do not necessarily think the grass is greener on the other side.  When it comes to the impact of the recession, they think their competitors were harder hit.


Network Solutions small Business Survey - impact of economic downturn

The above chart is from a recent Network Solutions survey conducted in conjunction with the University of Maryland’s Business School, in December 2008 and January 2009. 

I thought it remarkable that nearly half thought their competitors had been significantly impacted by the downturn.  Yet, just a little over a third reported their own businesses being significantly impacted.  And 31% thought their own businesses had been relatively unscathed — nearly twice the number who thought the competition was left unscathed.  It almost seems as if business owners are counting their blessings.

Roy Dunbar, CEO of Network Solutions, says he was struck by how optimistic small businesses are, especially considering that the survey was taken deep in the midst of the economic downturn.  “Frugality is a hallmark of how [small business owners] look at the world.  They’ve been through tough times before and know how to get through them now,” he said in an interview I conducted earlier this week.

Network Solutions plans to conduct regular surveys and has developed an index called the Small Business Success Index.  The SBSI Index is an ongoing measurement of the overall health of U.S. small businesses.  The company has set up a dedicated website for the initiative.

Dunbar said Network Solutions wanted to discover the characteristics of those small businesses that are successful.  That way they can help by giving prescriptive advice to small business owners about how to become more successful.  The company chose to publish the information on a separate research-oriented website where they are not selling anything, because they want it to be a source of helpful information above all.

You can take the survey yourself online. You will get an immediate score.  I took it and Small Business Trends LLC got a score of 81 (the average is 75). Take the survey yourself.