Fourth Annual Brother Survey Reveals Tech Malfunctions Negatively Impact Small Businesses More Than Absent Employees

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BRIDGEWATER, N.J., March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Brother International Corporation today released results from the fourth annual “Brother Small Business Survey,” which examined the role of technology in small business. This year’s survey most notably found that a surprising 75 percent of small business owners indicate that a crashed computer is more disruptive than a sick employee.  Seventy-seven percent noted that a tech malfunction has negatively impacted their business through a missed deadline or business opportunity.

Survey results also revealed that while technology plays a vital role in terms of office productivity, 66 percent of small business owners say they are frequently overwhelmed by the amount of technology available to help them run their business, and 86 percent additionally noted that in the past year, office productivity suffered due to technology not working properly.  In fact, 31 percent of respondents went so far as to say that they would give up a week’s worth of vacation to ensure tech malfunctions never happen in their business again.

“This year’s small business survey found that technology is just as important as a healthy workforce,” said John Wandishin, Brother Vice President of Marketing. “The results emphasize the importance of delivering reliable and easy-to-use products to promote a productive working environment.”

What About Cloud Computing?
Only 28 percent of small business owners said they completely understand the concept of cloud computing. And while 42 percent of respondents said they are not using cloud computing at all, 35 percent said they were using it only for data storage. Small business owners also noted using the cloud for document management (21 percent) as well as business applications like customer relations management and accounting and human resources (17 percent).

How Are Small Business Owners Feeling Versus Last Year?
While stress levels among small business owners remain high in general (58 percent in 2013 vs. 55 percent in 2012), “extreme stress” seems to be down.  Those claiming that their stress levels are at their highest levels ever (13 percent) is down almost half from last year (24 percent).  However, 41 percent of small business owners felt that their 2012 turned out worse than expected.

Are They Investing in Their Businesses?
The survey measured a slight uptick (48 percent vs. 44 percent in 2012) in small business owners feeling the need to stockpile cash to help guarantee that they could survive any economic downturn. However, 52 percent believe that investing in their business can give them an advantage over competitors.

When asked about business investments, 51 percent of small business owners said that they prioritize technology tool-related capital investments such as new software, mobile apps and cloud computing services.  Machinery-related (21 percent) and facility-related investments (20 percent) were other areas of priority.

Small business owner and noted expert Gene Marks, agreed with many of the survey’s findings.  “While running a small business is still tough in this slow economic recovery, I’m seeing that small business owners are more optimistic about the future,” he said.

Survey Methodology
The Brother SBO 2013 Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( among 500 U.S.  small business owners of companies with less than 100 employees, between February 21st and March 4th, 2013, using an email invitation and online survey.

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 the U.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.

All decimals are rounded to the nearest percentage point. This may result in certain numerical totals adding up to slightly more or slightly less than 100%.

Working with you for a better environment
At Brother, our green initiative is simple. We strive to take responsibility, act respectfully and try to make a positive difference to help build a society where sustainable development can be achieved. We call this approach Brother Earth.

SOURCE Brother International Corporation