SurePayroll Main Street Insights: Small Business Owners Go Online for the News

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According to survey results, only one in seven business owners still use print newspapers as their main source of news

We still get the paper and watch morning and evening news, but check Web sites often during the day. I believe they can all co-exist.

A recent survey conducted by online payroll provider SurePayroll suggests that traditional print newspapers could be turning into a rarity in small business offices as more business owners turn to online news.

30 percent of survey respondents -- the largest group of business owners who took the survey -- said they currently turn to Internet editions of newspapers more than any other news format, including local TV news, national TV news, local and national radio shows, and magazines. Only one in seven said they use traditional print newspapers as their main source of news.

"It's no secret that small business owners lead busy lives and are always looking for ways they can multi-task and be as productive as possible - keeping up-to-date on current events included," says SurePayroll President Michael Alter. "Reading the news online gives business owners the flexibility to scan information from multiple sources and easily keep a grasp on what's going on while they work."

-- Newspapers vs. News Blogs: Small Business Owners Weigh In --

Although small business owners frequently turn to major online newspapers for news, the survey results suggest they are less trusting of other types of Internet news sources -- such as blogs and social networking sites -- that are not affiliated with established news organizations. Only 28 percent of respondents said they felt online, non-traditional outlets were a good way to stay up-to-date on current events.

"I do not want printed media to go away, but it looks as if it is headed that way quickly," commented one small business owner. "I enjoy getting headlines from Internet resources, but for real and consistent in depth information, I would rather rely on newspapers."

Still, the business owners who saw value in non-traditional news sources argued that these outlets are playing an increasingly important role in the distribution of news. For example, one respondent wrote:

"Good blogs are substitutes for good managing editors -- they distill the news. The best ones triangulate a story by comparing slanted stories to arrive at a truth in between. As a result, the best news blogs are far better than the best newspapers."

-- Business Owners Link News Intake to Success --

The survey also found that 84 percent of small business owners believe staying up-to-date on current events helps them run their businesses better, with three out of four devoting at least 30 minutes per day to doing so.

Not only does the majority believe paying close attention to the news helps to be more successful, they also feel it helps their employees perform better. Sixty-five percent of respondents believed that workers who stay up-to-date on the news and current events typically make better employees than those who don't.

"When you own a business you can't afford to be out of the loop -- your livelihood depends on how much you and your small group of employees know," says Alter.

-- Business Owners Comment on the State of the News Industry --

As part of the survey, small business owners were asked to provide their thoughts on the current state of the media industry and where they believed it is headed. Here's what some of them had to say:

  •     "Media is often biased and picks inappropriate topics as 'news' -- Michelle Obama's shorts while on vacation, for example. It is important in today's environment to not take the media for face value and look a little further into the truth."
  •     "The news and media industry are experiencing a backlash as traditional media close and reduce their reporting staffs. Fact checking sites are critical to ensure that information received is accurate. Blogging and social media sites easily perpetuate information that is valid and mix it with opinion stated as fact. This provides a great deal of misinformation taken as fact by those who believe that everything they read or hear is accurate."
  •     "Blogs are spotty, but fast and immediate, which is nice. When professional journalists and investigative reporters have more of a presence online it will be better, but right now we are in a state of transition. Print seems to be contracting and becoming less dominant. TV relies on too much sensationalism. In depth print magazines are, in my opinion, the most effective medium for a deeper, better understanding of a topic or story."
  •     "We still get the paper and watch morning and evening news, but check Web sites often during the day. I believe they can all co-exist."

About SurePayroll:

SurePayroll is the online alternative to ADP and Paychex. SurePayroll's service and team members are dedicated to providing an easy, convenient online payroll service at a price small business owners can afford. Tens of thousands of customers rely on SurePayroll to process payroll wherever they want in as few as two minutes.

In addition, SurePayroll offers small businesses solutions for managing 401(k) plans, health insurance, workers' compensation, HR compliance and employee screening. For accountants and banking partners, SurePayroll provides [private-label services that enable them to offer payroll processing to their small business clients.

Over the last decade, SurePayroll has received numerous prestigious awards for its innovative technology and outstanding customer service, including recognition from PC Magazine, Inc. 500, Accounting Today, the Stevie Awards and many others.

For more information, you can visit, call 877.954.7873 or follow us on

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Frank Krolicki
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