Investing can mean different things to business owners, whether it is
time or money, dedicating resources to building a brand is one of the hallmarks
of a successful small business owner.
A recent survey conducted by Brother International Corporation shows
that more small business owners see the value of investing in their business
now as opposed to stockpiling cash for a later date. The Brother Small Business
Survey revealed nearly half (47 percent) of small businesses plan to invest in
their business in 2011 to gain advantage over competitors; that’s up 11
percentage points from last year’s survey. This is positive news in light of
last year's findings which showed the majority preferred stockpiling cash
reserves to help survive the economic downturn.
Bruce Freeman, commonly known as the Small Business Professor, can
attest to this new freedom of growth that small business owners are
experiencing. According to Freeman,
“There has been a lot of uncertainty in the business world since the recession
hit but I think we are starting to see the sun again. As a small business owner, I’m looking to
invest in growing my business, versus a year ago when I was happy to just be in
Freeman educates small business owners based on his own personal
insights from the entrepreneurial market and experiences. He also writes for Scripps Howard News
Service as the Small Business Professor and has lent his small business
expertise to Brother International on several campaigns.
The annual survey, which Brother began conducting last year in order to
better understand America’s small business owners, demonstrates that by
investing in their businesses SBO’s are taking a more strategic approach to
getting ahead of the competition and staying there.
One surprising stat revealed nearly one-third (30 percent) of small
business owners say they would prefer more time on their calendars than cash in
their pockets. The survey clearly shows a trend of small business owners
investing their own time into the company to make it flourish.
According to Lisa Kanarek, author of five books and the blog WorkingNaked.com, there never seems to be
enough time for most small business owners.
“I meet business owners around the country and many of them tell me how
much of themselves they have invested in their businesses – early mornings,
late hours, weekends – it takes a lot to make a little happen when doing it
mostly on your own.”
Kanarek, a home office expert, is the founder of HomeOfficeLife, a
consulting firm that advises home-based business owners on all aspects of
working from home, including: home office set up, function, productivity and
technology. She also works with Brother
International as a consultant and spokesperson.
Time management was a common theme throughout the results.
Three-quarters (79 percent) said they plan to use their time more efficiently
in 2011. Owners also recognize that investing in proper organization
skills/activities helps keep a business running smoothly; as such, 67 percent
plan to become more organized this year.
Though stress levels haven’t changed much (52 percent say their stress
level is higher than usual), small business owners still value the independence
and agility that comes with running one’s own business. The majority said 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) are the biggest benefits of running their own business.