2008 Small Business Survey Results

Find out what business owners who took our survey believe about the future of their own businesses and the economy.

What’s on the minds of small business owners this year? Are gloomy economic forecasts making them see red? Has the slowing economy already caused harm? Do small business owner think a recession is imminent or already here? Are sales slumping, or do they expect sales to slump?

The results of a survey that was completed by 400 business owners visiting the BusinessKnowHow.com website at the end of January shows that most small business owners are optimistic about the profitability of their own businesses in 2008, but not as optimistic about the economy in the near future.

As a group, the majority (63.7%) of small business owners who took the survey indicated they believe a recession is imminent. Surprisingly, however, 70% of the business owners who said they thought a recession is imminent believe their own businesses will be as profitable as or more profitable in 2008 than they were in 2007. Furthermore, 34.7% of those who indicated they believe a recession is imminent said they plan to hire employees in 2008.

Older female business owners were more inclined to believe a recession is at hand than the group as a whole. Of the women business owners who were 50 years of age or older, 70.5% saw recession looming. By comparison, 64.8% of male business owners who were 50 years of age or older indicated they believe a recession is about to take place.

The survey revealed other interesting results related to the number of people employed by the business and to the age and gender of the business owners.

One-person businesses, overall, had the lowest annual sales, with 51.8% of one-person businesses reporting annual sales of $25,000 or less. The majority (56.7%) of one-person businesses were women-owned.

Women, and particularly older women, tended to have the lowest annual sales. Survey results showed that 38.4% of female survey takers had annual sales of under $25,000. For women business owners 50 years of age or older, those with annual sales of under $25,000 climbed to 43.9%.

By comparison, 22% of all of the men taking the survey reported annual sales of under $25,000 while only 14.1% of the men 50 and over reported earning less than $25,000.

On the other end of the income spectrum, only 16.6% of the women who are 50 years of age or older reported annual sales of $100,000 or more, while for males 50 years of age or older, the percentage with annual revenues of $100,000 or more shot up to 56.6 percent.

When asked to comment on their most pressing business concerns this year, business owners brought up a wide range of economic concerns. Among the more frequently cited concerns: fuel costs, healthcare costs, difficulty in getting credit, high taxes, foreign competition, and fear of recession causing businesses and consumers to put off spending. One survey taker summed up the thoughts of many in five words: “Getting people to spend money.”

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