According to a new survey by Brother International, a majority of small business owners expect to see a bigger return on investment from technology implementations, upgrades, and initiatives than they do from new employees in the coming year. In fact, of those owners surveyed, 72 percent feel that investment in technology is going to pay off more than hiring in 2014. In addition, 49 percent of respondents felt that investing in technology would still be a top priority this year.

However, the survey revealed that 63 percent of small business owners felt overwhelmed with the number of business technologies on the market today. There also seemed to be some uncertainty as to the best way to proceed when it comes to incorporating new technology into one’s business structure. In fact, respondents were split 50/50 as to whether it’s advisable to adopt new technologies quickly, right as they come on the market (with the risk of not receiving a sufficient return on investment, or ROI), or whether it was better to hold off and take the risk that those competitors who embraced the technology would gain the upper hand. According to Brother’s Vice President of Marketing John Wandishin, the survey demonstrates that while small business owners understand the inherent value of new technologies to their business structures, they are still unsure on how best to leverage and adopt them in order to drive the most beneficial impact on their business over the long term.

Of the small business technologies currently available, smartphones and tablets are what small business owners are most reliant on for daily business operations, at 41 percent. Also of priority are customer relationship management tools (at 32 percent), social media tools (at 21 percent), and cloud services (at 15 percent).

This is the 5th annual Brother Small Business Survey conducted by business products manufacturer Brother International. The survey canvassed 500 small business owners (meaning they have fewer than 100 employees) based in the United States. Survey results were presented in partnership with SCORE (a provider of mentoring and training workshops to entrepreneurs and small business owners).


Brother. “Fifth Annual Brother Small Business Survey Reveals New Technology is a Better Return on Investment than New Employees;” March 19, 2014.

Hood, Daniel. “Small Biz Says Technology Is Better Than People;” Accounting Today. March 19, 2014.