Download Press Release (doc) - DISCOVER SMALL BUSINESS WATCH

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Download Press Release (doc) - DISCOVER SMALL BUSINESS WATCH ...




     Concerns About the U.S. Economy and Economic Conditions for Small Businesses

    Hit Record Levels



    Most Owners Would Pass Up More Money to Work for Someone Else

    Riverwoods, IL, June 30, 2008 After a brief rebound in May, economic confidence among small business owners dropped to a record low in June as the number of those

    who think the U.S. economy is getting worse expanded to nearly 80 percent. The ?SMDiscover Small Business Watch plummeted in June to 71.8, down 10 points from 81.8 in May.

We know this sector is self-reliant and independent to a large degree, so in spite of their

    view of the overall economy, they feel less concerned about the economic conditions that

    affect their own businesses closer to home,” said Ryan Scully, director of Discover’s

    business credit card.

Confidence indicators were down in June in every category of the Watch survey,

    including cash flow issues and plans to spend on business development.

“With prices rising, especially gas and food, just about everybody is feeling the squeeze,”

    Scully said. “People are starting to change their habits and cut back. For small business

    owners who are seeing profits go down as a result, that means they have less to invest in

    finding new business.

June Key Findings:

    ? Nearly eight out of 10 small business owners, 79 percent, think the U.S. economy

    is getting worse an increase from 71 percent in May and the highest level

    recorded since the inception of the Watch in August 2006.

    ? 53 percent of owners say that economic conditions for their business are getting

    worse, compared to 47 percent in May.

    ? 58 percent rated the economy as poor, an increase from 50 percent in May.

    ? 42 percent say they have experienced cash flow issues over the last 90 days, an

    increase from 39 percent in May.

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    ? 75 percent of owners will be decreasing or making no changes in what they spend

    over the next six months on business development activities such as advertising,

    inventories, and capital expenditures. Forty-five percent plan to decrease spending,

    30 percent are making no changes, and 23 percent plan to increase spending.

    ? 8 percent of owners have plans to hire in the next few months, while 79 percent

    are making no changes and 10 percent plan to lay off workers.

American Dream Poll: Is It Still Within Reach?

    ? Only 40 percent of the 4,000 consumers polled by the Watch people think the

    American Dream is still a possibility, 11 percent aren’t sure, and 48 percent said

    the dream is dead. However, if you’re going to try, 58 percent of consumers say

    owning a small business is one way to go, while small business owners are more

    certain: 71 percent of them feel like they have a doorway to prosperity and a

    better life for their families.

Motivation Poll: Independence and Flexibility Drive Most Owners

Independence and flexibility continue to be the main reasons behind the choice to start a

    small business. Fifty-two percent of owners say they started a small business to have

    more flexibility with their time or to be more independent, an increase from 46 percent in

    2007. Only 12 percent cited making more money as the primary reason for starting their

    own business, a decrease from 19 percent a year ago.

The long hours and risks of running a small business are trade-offs most owners are

    willing to make for the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for themselves,

    even if it might mean making less money, Scully said.


    ? 59 percent of owners would turn down a job working for someone else, even if

    offered more money than they currently make. This is down slightly from 61

    percent who felt this way in 2007.

    ? 66 percent of small business owners agree that it is riskier to run a business than

    to work for a large company, although 44 percent said that starting their own

    business turned out to be, in retrospect, less risky than they first believed.

    ? When asked about the biggest challenge facing their business, 31 percent cited

    finding new business and 19 percent cited managing cash flows.

    ? Nearly half of small business owners, 46 percent, originally financed their small

    business with personal savings.

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The views and opinions expressed by small business owners and consumers who

    participate in the Small Business Watch survey are their own and do not necessarily

    reflect those of Discover Financial Services or its affiliates.

About the Small Business Watch

The Discover Small Business Watch is a monthly index measuring the relative economic

    confidence of U.S. small business owners who employ less than five employees, a segment

    that consists of 22 million businesses producing more than a trillion dollars in annual receipts.

    The Watch is based on a national random survey of 1,000 small business owners. It is commissioned by the Discover Business Card, which strives to offer the best business credit

    card for American small businesses, and is conducted by Rasmussen Reports, LLC

    (, an independent survey research firm. The numeric index is calculated by assigning values to responses to a set of six consistent questions. The base

    value of the Watch was established at 100.0 based on surveys conducted in August of 2006.

    In addition to generating the index, the Small Business Watch surveys small business

    viewpoints on key business drivers, and also surveys 4,000 consumers to gauge purchasing

    behavior and attitudes towards small businesses. For past results and small business survey

    data, visit For information on Discover Business

    Card, visit

About Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a leading credit card issuer and electronic

    payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services.

    The company operates the Discover Card, America's cash rewards pioneer. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United

    States. Its payments businesses consist of the Discover Network, with millions of merchant

    and cash access locations, and PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks. For

    more information, visit


Jon Drummond

    Discover Financial Services


Daniel Delson

    Robinson Lerer & Montgomery


    Page 3 of 3

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