Brother Small Business Survey: SMB Owners Prefer to Invest Now

Bridgewater, New Jersey (PRESS RELEASE – March 10, 2011) – The second annual “Brother Small Business Survey” revealed nearly half (47 percent) of small business owners prefer to invest in their business now to gain advantage over competitors; that’s up 11 percentage points from 2010. Last year’s survey revealed that the majority preferred stockpiling cash reserves as a means to help them survive the economic downturn. These findings demonstrate that owners are taking a more strategic approach to getting and staying ahead of the competition.

Brother International Corporation, a market leader in office printers, all-in-one machines and P-touch labeling products, conducted the annual “Brother Small Business Survey” in 2010 to better understand the concerns and opinions of America’s small business owners.

“Our survey is one way we keep a finger on the pulse of our key market segment, America’s small business owners, and it provides us with true insight into their needs and struggles,” said John Wandishin, vice president of marketing, Brother International.  “We want to understand what small business owners value, so we can continue to provide solutions for their daily challenges.”

Investing Time vs. Money

Small business owners are acknowledging that money isn’t a substitute for the quality time they need to invest to grow their business. More and more small business owners are seeing the value of investing in their business—with both time and money. Nearly one-third (30 percent) of small business owners said they would rather have more time on their calendars than cash in their pockets. Time management was also a common theme throughout the results. Three-quarters (79 percent) said they plan to use their time more efficiently in 2011.

Small business owners also showed they value the agility that running a small business affords. When asked what the biggest benefits of being a small business owner were, majorities cited the ability to quickly respond to customer service issues (84 percent) and the ability to quickly implement executive decisions about managing the business (83 percent).

“Tech Downtime” A Concern

Many of America’s small business owners have experienced some type of “Tech Downtime”: three-quarters (77 percent) of owners say they have seen productivity suffer—at least occasionally—in the last year due to office technology not working properly.

“When running a small business, time is the ultimate commodity,” said Wandishin. “Small business owners are looking for reliable equipment and services that help them save time running their business so they have more time for their customers. Our products are proven to be easy to set up and reliable. In fact, Brother was voted PC Magazine’s Readers Choice Award Winner – #1 in Reliability, #1 in Customer Satisfaction and #1 Likely to Recommend for Monochrome Laser Printers and All-in-Ones.”

A few other trends spotted in this year’s survey:

Stress Levels Remain the Same. This year, 52 percent say their stress level is higher than usual (if not their highest ever). This is relatively unchanged from a year ago when 51 percent reported higher levels of stress. With economists undecided on whether the economy is improving or staying the same, it’s no wonder small business owners’ stress levels haven’t changed.

Keeping Up with Congress. Keeping track of the latest policy changes is proving to be a challenge for some small business owners. Forty-one percent of small business owners say it is harder to keep up with state and federal policy than it is to bring in new clients or customers.

Getting Organized. Small business owners seem to agree that organization doesn’t hurt when it comes to running a business; 67 percent plan to become more organized this year.

Survey Methodology

The Brother Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( between January 20th and 28th, 2011. For this research, 501 interviews were fielded among small business owners using random-digit telephone dialing. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of that variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews conducted. For the interviews conducted, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.4 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About Brother

Brother International Corporation is one of the premier providers of products for the home, home office and office. The U.S. corporate office in Bridgewater, N. J., was established on April 21, 1954 and currently markets many industrial products, home appliances and business products manufactured by its parent company, Brother Industries, Ltd. of Nagoya, Japan.

These products include an award-winning line of Multi-Function Center machines and printers. Brother also provides the number-one line of facsimile machines in the U.S. and is the leader in electronic labeling, with its full line of P-touch Electronic Labeling Systems.

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