Small Business Owners Are Going Without Pay, Survey Finds

Although optimism among small business owners has been in high in recent months, many owners have been making notable sacrifices and changes to stay afloat. A new Citibank survey of 750 small business owners has shown that more than half of the surveyed owners have gone without paychecks -- a quarter of them for more than a year.

Apart from less pay, 70 percent of the owners surveyed said that they had given up family or vacation time to work more hours, and nearly two-thirds said they were suffering from personal stress.

Owners weren't the only workers taking less pay; the survey also showed that many of these small businesses' employees (38 percent) worked extra hours without pay, and an additional 18 percent voluntarily missed or received delayed paychecks. As a reward for their sacrifice, 78 percent of owners offered their employees more time off, and nearly 70 percent offered bonuses or raises.

Where working longer hours for less money isn't viable, small business owners are looking to reinvention as means to stay relevant or competitive. Nearly three-quarters of owners are increasing face time with their customers, while 53 percent noted an emphasis on using the Internet and social media. On most business owners' to-do lists or the rest of 2012: increasing marketing (65 percent), getting better pricing on expenses (56 percent) and introducing new products or services (50 percent).