75% of Struggling Small Business Owners Believe Being Disorganized Leads to Productivity Loss

75% of Struggling Small Business Owners Believe Being Disorganized Leads to Productivity Loss

A survey of small businesses by Staples reveals 3 in 4 owners who are struggling or failing say not being organized has affected the productivity level of their companies.

The survey looked at how disorganization, tax preparation, and marketing is affecting struggling and successful small businesses.

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How Being Disorganized Leads to Productivity Loss

The challenges businesses face is exacerbated when there is confusion within the company, which negatively affects different departments and eventually the company as a whole. For small businesses with limited resources, it means spending more time and money to remedy problems which start out small but soon grow out of control.

Having the tools and resources to get organized is key, which is what Michelle Bottomley, chief marketing officer for Staples, said in the press release. Bottomley added, “When small business owners feel they have the necessary tools, support and assets to thrive, they’re able to devote more time and attention to what they’re passionate about — providing their customers and clients with exceptional goods and services.”

The survey was designed by Staples and carried out online by Critical Mix. A total of 503 US small business owners (with up to 25 full-time employees) took part in the survey from December 26 to December 28, 2017

Insights From the Survey

When it comes to businesses that were thriving/surviving, 53 percent of them said their workplaces were very organized, but only 23 percent of the struggling/failing small business owners said the same. As for the impact of productivity in the workplace, 1 in 3 business owners believes disorganization makes them less productive.

With tax time fast approaching, businesses will be facing some challenges as they try to navigate the new changes to the tax code. And the survey says more than half of small business owners see tax preparations as being complicated, but almost half of them do their own taxes. When it came to preparing taxes, 2 in 5 respondents felt leaving this task until the last minute was a bad idea responsible for causing complications.

The data for advertising pointed out thriving businesses used different types of marketing with 63 percent saying social media marketing was their choice, 59 percent saying they used online marketing and 46 percent opting for print marketing. However, 50 percent of respondents admit they do not know how to reach new prospective customers on their own, and one third find designing effective marketing materials for their business challenging.

Even with these challenges, the survey reports more than 86 percent of small business owners are optimistic about the future, and 4 in 5 acknowledged their businesses are thriving or surviving in the new year.

Photo via Shutterstock


Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

8 Reactions
  1. Remember that “organized” translates into different things for different people. Don’t confuse it with tidy/messy.

    • Hi Robert,
      Being tidy/messy doesn’t indicate how organized you are in your personal/business life. However, tidy/organized definitely beats messy/organized.

  2. We work with thousands of small businesses at Hatchbuck and the truth is owners are so busy with the day to day operations that they don’t often slow down to look at the right tools to help them get organized. CRM systems, sales and marketing automation tools, and AI tools are more affordable and easier to use than ever and can truly help small business owners put an efficient and predictable process in place for growing their business.

    • Hi Jonathan,
      Like you said the tools are out there. Taking the time to find out what they are and what works best for your particular business is a worthwhile investment.

      • True. That’s when you hire a good business consultant who can assist with weeding through all the options and finding the right solution.

      • Hi R Bergman,
        A good business consultant is often not appreciated until an entrepreneur has had a go at it on their own. Invaluable is a word that comes to mind.

  3. It does. But you cannot maintain 100% organization all the time. It is just not realistic. So it is better to create a plan that flexibly adapts to what happens.

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