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Small business still hunkered down

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Cheryl Senter/AP/File

(Read caption) Steve Dalessio (left), general manager at Lake Machine in Claremont, N.H., is a small business owner who served on a committee that came up with an original insurance program for employees. But he did not sign up for it himself because it was too expensive. A new survey shows small business owners are still hunkered down.

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A new survey of small business owners by Brother International Corporation found that small business owners are still hunkering down.

The survey revealed that more than half (53 percent) of small business owners believe stockpiling cash is the best strategy for surviving the current economic climate, as opposed to investing in their business. This is a wise and prudent strategy right now. The economy is a long way from recovery and more shocks could be in our future. Cash is the best cushion against uncertainty.

The same survey showed that the majority of small business owners (79 percent) will strive to make their company more efficient this year. Bootstrapping is back in and is a great path to higher cash reserves.

Additional results from the survey include:

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  • 15 percent say they would give up 10 percent of their company in exchange for a guarantee that they'd be protected from negative economic effects in 2010.
  • 51 percent of small business owners find that their stress level is at the highest it's ever been, or higher than usual, as a result of the economic climate. In fact, close to half (48 percent) of small business owners think about their business while trying to fall asleep.
  • 65 percent of small business owners believe they put in more hours than if they worked for someone else.
  • 50 percent of small business owners enjoy the flexibility that comes with "being your own boss"
  • 35 percent enjoy being able to pursue their passion.

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