Competing Demands and Distractions Hinder Ability to Focus and
Achieve Business Goals
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Prioritizing cost-cutting measures, checking Facebook and Twitter, and navigating the complexities of data protection and increased airport security are just a few of the ongoing challenges in the modern-day business climate stretching small-business owners like never before.
According to the 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey (Nasdaq: SPLS), a majority of business owners (61 percent) suffer from “ping-pong” syndrome as a result of constant bouncing between competing work demands and distractions brought on by a poor economy, evolving technologies, and world events that challenge even a three-person small business.
“Small-business owners confront unprecedented pressures and distractions on top of the challenging economic climate,” said Karen Kerrigan, President of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. “Now they are dealing with concerns ranging from website operations, data security, and smarter lead generation, to personal interests like family obligations, health, and even Facebook or Twitter updates. Facing this barrage of attention-grabbing priorities, small-business owners need an easy way to focus on pragmatics and business priorities to move ahead.”
More than half of survey respondents (51 percent) blame growing to-do lists as the biggest cause of ping-pong syndrome. The survey also revealed that 53 percent of small-business owners do not have enough time to do everything on these lists, and a surprising 53 percent are so overwhelmed, they purposefully write things on their to-do list they have already completed just to be able to cross something off.
“Clearly small-business owners are looking for help in maintaining focus, setting goals, and bringing order to their increasingly chaotic lives,” said Kerrigan.
Additional survey results indicating the prevalence of ping-pong syndrome include:
And if that isn’t enough pressure, there is the basic question of survival. One quarter (26 percent) of respondents are unsure if their businesses will exist in 12 months if the economic climate remains unchanged, and nearly one quarter (23 percent) believe economic conditions will get worse before they improve. Two in five (42 percent) small-business owners have already considered closing down their businesses, while contemplating how they will re-enter the job force.
To make it easy for small businesses to prioritize their objectives for the New Year, Staples is launching a new, one-of-its-kind program called Staples stickK to it! Business Challenge (see related release,“Staples Makes Goal Setting Easy for Small Businesses in 2010,” Jan. 12, 2010). Small businesses can log on to www.staples.com/goals to commit to achieving goals, such as getting organized and saving money. Participants can track their progress and earn EasyPoints by completing steps toward achieving their goals that are redeemable for Staples merchandise and services.
“We are committed to helping businesses manage complexity and seize new growth opportunities in the new year as the economy reaches a turning point,” said John Giusti, vice president of small business marketing, Staples, Inc. “Goal setting will not only help alleviate the ping-pong syndrome plaguing small-business owners today, but it will help them focus on the aspects of their operations that are key to growth. The goals small businesses set in 2010, and their success in achieving them, are crucial to the small business community and will help fuel the nation’s long-term economic recovery.”
Additional survey results include:
About the Survey
For the 4th year, Staples conducted an internet survey among small-business owners and senior executives. The survey was developed by Staples and conducted by Decision Analyst, Inc. in Arlington, TX. Decision Analyst surveyed by Internet a nationally-representative random sample of 300 owners and executives of American businesses having no more than 20 employees. All respondents were members of American Consumer Opinion® online, Decision Analyst’s proprietary Internet-based consumer-opinion panel with over 7,000,000 members globally. Interviews were conducted from December 2 to December 7, 2009. Such a sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For more information about American Consumer Opinion® online, please visit www.acop.com. For a complete report of survey results, contact Jackie Guzman of Tilson Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staples, the world’s largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products, including office supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2008 sales of $23 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples serves businesses of all sizes and consumers in 27 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In July 2008, Staples acquired Corporate Express, one of the world’s leading suppliers of office products to businesses and institutions. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com.