Business owners who employ between two and 500 workers recently told pollsters they have reshuffled business priorities where now business and income protection have taken center stage.

In a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for The Principal Financial Group, respondents reported that the survival of the company and the protection of its assets were more important than health insurance, which was the number one priority last year. Income protection rose from fifth to third place, compared to last year.

The survey, conducted from July 13, to Aug. 9, 2010, involved 511 business owners with 2, 500 employees.

"It is clear that the effects of the recession have brought protection of one’s business and income to the forefront of the business owner’s planning," says Steve Parrish, national advanced solutions consultant for The Principal.  "Benefits, for both owners and their employees, are crucial, but in their planning, owners are cognizant of the need to make sure these benefits cover contingencies like death and disability," he adds.

Other key findings include:

  • Over a quarter (26%) of business owners said that the most important lesson to learn from the recession is the need to be more diversified with assets.
  • About 25% of owners also learned that they need to have a plan for how they will exit their business. Despite this sentiment, research shows that two-thirds (68%) of owners still do not have a plan in place to exit their business.  Also, less than half of these owners (47%) have wills and 30% don’t have wealth transfer plans at all.

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