2009 National Poll: Sixty-Five Percent of Small Business Leaders Report Business Worries Keep Them Awake at Night
Reno, Nev. – May 11, 2009 – Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of small business decision makers say that worries about their businesses keep them awake at night, according to the Small Business Opinion Poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, commissioned by EMPLOYERS®, America’s small business insurance specialist®. According to the 500 small business decision makers polled across the country, they worry most about the economy, growing and maintaining their business, meeting operating expenses and their business closing.
Small business decision makers also are paying close attention to the federal government’s various stimulus bill packages first geared toward very large financial institutions and more recently the small business stimulus package. More than half (55 percent) of small businesses do not believe the initial stimulus bill included enough provisions to benefit them. Impressions of the government’s latest effort to stimulate small business lending via the Small Business Administration have not yet been quantified.
“America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs will play a more profound role than ever in driving growth in the next economic cycle,” said Douglas Dirks, president and CEO, Employers Holdings, Inc. “They are the job generators and innovators who will lead us out of the recession, and we want to provide them with the tools to succeed in these challenging times. Because we are exclusively focused on serving small businesses, we are well suited to help them run a more effective, profitable business.”
Additional small business decision maker sentiments garnered from the Small Business Opinion Poll include:
- Small business decision makers are evenly split on whether the Obama Administration will be a stronger advocate for small businesses than the Bush Administration (47 percent vs. 47 percent, with 6 percent undecided)
- 72 percent expect their 2009 revenue to stagnate or decline in 2009
- 81 percent expect to cut costs in some way in 2009
- 42 percent expect to eliminate or cut back expenses in 2009
- 21 percent expect to lay off workers in 2009
EMPLOYERS recognizes the challenges small businesses face as they focus on doing what is necessary to make it through the recession. Naturally, small business decision makers are carefully evaluating cost structures and working to enhance operational efficiencies, which is smart business no matter what the economic climate. And because most businesses are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance, EMPLOYERS is committed to providing them with helpful information and insights into how they can ensure their businesses are protected while simultaneously minimizing costs.
Following are eight simple steps small business owners can follow to help control the costs associated with workers’ compensation insurance:
- Hire responsibly – Employers should take time to find the right employees for the workplace and use tools like employment applications, reference checks, pre-hire drug screens, motor vehicle driving history and background checks.
- Establish a safety program – Develop policies, procedures and rules. Provide employees with the necessary training, proper tools and personal protective equipment to do the job safely.
- Enforce safety rules – It is not enough to train employees and provide them with the proper tools. Businesses should routinely remind employees to work safely through the use of workplace audits, safety meetings, toolbox talks and annual training.
- Provide immediate medical care – Pre-arrange medical facilities for employees in the event of a workplace injury. Be prepared to provide transportation for non-emergency injuries. For emergencies, call 911. Always require a post-accident drug test to be administered.
- Report all injuries immediately – All injuries should be reported to insurance carrier within 24 hours of the incident. Ongoing communication with injured employee and the claims adjuster is extremely important.
- Investigate all accidents and near misses – Businesses should review accidents to assess what happened and take necessary steps to make sure it does not occur again.
- Provide Alternate Duty Employment – Once an employee is released to return to work, regardless of what capacity, businesses should be prepared to offer alternate duty.
- Certificates of Insurance – Businesses should never hire another company unless that company has a valid Certificate for Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
About the Small Business Opinion Polls
The surveys commissioned by EMPLOYERS sampled 500 owners or managers of small businesses with 1-99 employees. Data was collected through telephone interviews during the period February 19 – March 2, 2009 (for stimulus bill-related data) and Dec. 11 – 22, 2008 (for sleep loss data) at the 95% confidence level. The sample is stratified across business size and industry grouping, including manufacturing/construction, transportation/ communication, wholesale/retail, financial services, or personal/professional services businesses. The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.
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About Employers Holdings, Inc.
EMPLOYERS® and America’s small business insurance specialist® are registered trademarks of EIG Services, Inc. Employers Holdings, Inc. is a holding company with subsidiaries that are specialty providers of workers’ compensation insurance and services focused on select, small businesses engaged in low-to-medium hazard industries. The Company operates throughout the United States, with the exception of four states that are served exclusively by their state funds. Insurance is offered through Employers Insurance Company of Nevada, Employers Compensation Insurance Company, Employers Preferred Insurance Company, Employers Assurance Company and Cerity Insurance Company, all rated A- (Excellent) by the A.M. Best Company. Not all companies do business in all jurisdictions. See employersstage.wpengine.com and www.cerity.com for coverage availability.