Third Annual Brother Survey Reveals Cautious Optimism for Small Business Owners - The Black Perspective
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Third Annual Brother Survey Reveals Cautious Optimism for Small Business Owners

By on March 30, 2012

Brother International59 percent of small business owners believe that 2012 will be a better year than 2011

Down 10 percent from the 2011 findings (54 percent), 44 percent of owners believe stockpiling cash for surviving any economic downturn is the better course of action

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., (March 28, 2012) – The third annual “Brother Small Business Survey” revealed a decline in small business owners feeling the need to store away funds in case of another economic downturn.  This year’s survey found that 44 percent of small business owners believe stockpiling cash is the better option than investing in their business now which is down from 54 percent last year and 53 percent in 2010.  In 2010 36 percent of owners were looking to invest in their businesses’ growth, this increased last year to 44 percent but has dropped back to 38 percent in 2012 as owners take a “wait-and-see” approach to their business.1

According to the survey, more female business owners (44 percent) are apt to invest in their business now compared to 35 percent of males.  Nearly half of men (48 percent) feel the need to stockpile cash, compared to 36 percent of women.

Brother International Corporation, a leader in small office technology, started conducting the annual “Brother Small Business Survey” in 2010 to better understand the mindset of America’s small business owners.

“We conduct our annual survey to gain insight into the mindset of small business owners so we can better meet their needs,” said John Wandishin, Vice-President, Marketing, Business Machine Group. “This year’s survey was interesting because we saw several examples of cautious optimism despite the economic concerns that are still prevalent today.”

How was 2011?

43 percent of small business owners felt 2011 turned out worse than expected and it showed in their stress levels.  Up three percent from last year’s findings, more than half (55 percent) of owners say  their stress levels are higher than usual due to the current economic climate, and almost a quarter (24 percent) believe their stress is at its highest ever.  

What Can We Expect for 2012?

Opinions are mixed on what small business owners expect for 2012.  While 59 percent believe 2012 will be a better year than 2011, 72 percent are not confident that the federal government will be able to adequately improve the economy this year.  Of the small business owners who predict a worse 2012, 21 percent say the overall economy will be worse and 17 percent say continued economic uncertainty makes it hard to make plans.  However, of the 59 percent of small business owners who think 2012 will be better, nearly one-third (30 percent) feel that this is because the overall economy will be better this year.

This uncertainty filters down to consumers as well, more than half (53 percent) of small business owners said if their businesses struggled this year, they would plan to keep prices the same, only 24 percent said they would reduce their prices and offer discounts to increase business.

Survey Methodology

The Brother SBO 2012 Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( via telephone among 500 American small business owners of companies with less than 100 employees, between February 14th and March 1st, 2012, using listed sample consisting of adults 18+ who are currently the owner, partner, president, or CEO of a business with less than 100 employees in the United States.  

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, 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 theU.S. and is the leader in electronic labeling, with its full line of P-touch® Electronic Labeling Systems. For more information you can visit the website at

NOTE: All trademarks and registered trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective companies.

1 Year to year shifts should be used directionally for all data, given changes in the methodology for how small business owners were recruited.

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