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Small Business America: Six Steps to Better Performance in the Coming Year

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This is a time when most companies, large and small, are actively engaged in the annual year-end accounting exercise and assessing how well they performed in the 12 prior months. Based on the annual Guardian Life Index of What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners, The Guardian Life Small Business research Institute released six steps that might well make next year’s fourth quarter analysis more rewarding. The observations and recommendations are based on research of small business owners whose companies’ 2011 revenues exceeded the performance of businesses that declined or just maintained their sales over the past two years.

Prioritizing the Value of Technology to America’s Small Business Owners

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In  prioritizing which technology is most important to their companies, America’s small  business owners still value business software and their company website more  highly than social media sites and services – even despite the significant  “buzz” that surrounds this emerging area.  While software and core Web presence rank highest in helping small  business owners to operate more efficiently and acquire new customers, a new  study by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute also identified specific segments  within the small business community that are clearly embracing social media as  a communications and business building resource.

Small Business Owners Achieved Better than Expected 2009 Financial Results
and Forecast Higher Revenues and Profits in 2010

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America’s small business owners are considerably more upbeat about the financial performance of their businesses than they were a year ago, according to a new special economic report by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute. Fifty-one percent of small business owners surveyed in June of this year anticipate their 2010 revenues will exceed their 2009 sales. A year ago, only 32 percent expected better financial performance in 2009 than the prior year.

New Research Identifies Six Dimensions That Characterize
Success-Oriented Small Business Owners

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The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute identified six dimensions that characterize small business owners who exhibit a strong success orientation based on their desire to enjoy longevity in their businesses, expand revenues and grow the size of their companies.

Small Business Trends as Companies Grow in Size

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According to the U.S. Census, approximately 40,000 companies with more than 100 employees account for roughly half of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The other half of the American economy is generated by 20 million sole-proprietorships and another five million businesses that have between 2 and 99 employees.

The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute found that stark differences occur in what matters most to small business owners as their companies evolve from very small entitieswith fewer than ten employees to sizeable enterprises approaching 100 employees that resemble larger corporations. Based on an analysis of its study – The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners – this report further explores businesses with fewer than 100 employees to identify small business trends as an employee base increases.

Unique Management Style of Women Small Business Owners

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The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, projects that women small business owners will create 5 to 5.5 million new jobs across the U.S. by 2018, transforming the workplace of tomorrow into a far more inclusive, horizontally managed environment.

Based on The Institute’s projection, by 2018, women-owned small businesses will generate more than half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs expected to be created, and roughly one-third of the 15.3 million total new jobs anticipated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This projection is striking, given that women-owned businesses currently account for just 16 percent of total U.S. employment according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Importantly, this report drawn from results of The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners provides new insights about the professional management approach practiced by women small business owners – one that will significantly transform the workplace environment for millions of Americans in the coming years.

Three Core Pillars of Small Business Success

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Looking out from 2009, small business owners say their companies will emerge from the recession strong and well positioned for growth over the next 12 to 24 months – helping to lead the U.S. to economic recovery, according to The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners. The foundational report summarizing the findings of The Guardian Life Index revealed a number of interesting small business trends. Specifically, even in the face of the significant challenges of the economic downturn, the fundamental optimism demonstrated by small business owners is the result of their passionate, confident focus on three core pillars of business success – their customers, their employees and their own self-dependence, according to the study.