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All Signs Point to Small Businesses

April 14, 2009

For the past two years, FedEx Office has polled small business owners across the country to gauge their sentiments on the current economy with our Signs of the Times Survey.

When we fielded this year’s study in February, frankly, we weren’t sure what to expect. We knew small businesses were resourceful and resilient — after all, small businesses pay almost half of the total U.S. private payroll and have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade. But the economic conditions we’ve faced in the past several months have been unprecedented. How were small businesses adjusting?

Not surprisingly, our survey found that small business owners have been negatively affected, but there was also a great deal of optimism. Small businesses told us they may be down but they’re not out: 70 percent had lower profits in 2008 compared to 2007, but 75 percent said they were confident they’d be in business this time next year. Also encouraging, 46 percent indicated they would open another small business today if they had the proper financial backing.

So, how will small businesses endure? Like last year, many survey respondents (47 percent) planned to increase spending on marketing and advertising, and I can understand why. Marketing tools like signs, banners and posters are time-tested ways to reach customers. Moreover, 79 percent of our survey respondents agreed these tools are cost-efficient. To learn about the wide range of professional sign solutions available at FedEx Office, click here.

Other plans to grow business include increasing communication with existing and potential customers via newsletters, direct mail, etc. (69 percent), and creating a customer loyalty or referral program (46 percent).

About four decades ago, FedEx Office started as a small business meeting a unique customer need. Now, as a large company, we see small business customers in our centers almost every day and we’re committed to helping them.

To view more results from our survey, visit

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