Small business surveys can illuminate the current business climate, helping owners determine what aspects of their companies need to be emphasized or improved, and the latest results are showing new areas in which leaders may want to consider investing.

EHS reports that one recent survey found business owners increasingly interested in ensuring the safety of their workplaces, with 35 percent of small business owners seeing security as their biggest concern over all other problems. Potential liabilities and cyber security were the next most common answers, receiving about a quarter of the vote each.

"Small-business owners realize they have to protect their most valuable assets: their employees," the COO of survey sponsors Employers Holdings Inc., Stephen Festa, said. "Employee injuries can carry a significant cost, not only in terms of medical and workers' compensation expenses, but also in terms of lost productivity and potentially lower workplace morale."

Most concerning for business owners was the possibility of employees becoming injured because of the state of the workplace. About 21 percent of businesses were worried about preventing slips, trips and falls, while 12 percent noted the importance of motor vehicle accidents and harmful objects and equipment.

Online presence may improve business
While security is an important investment for businesses, another recent survey found that learning from the Internet may be directly beneficial as well. According to Convenience Store Decisions, more U.S. shoppers are planning to make purchases in-store, though there are certain aspects of the market they expect to improve before they make a full commitment. About 21 percent of surveyed shoppers planned to increase in-store shopping in 2014, a rise of 12 percent from the previous year.

However, these decisions were largely driven by interest in a quality shopping experience. Two-fifths of those surveyed said that retailers need to improve the in-store shopping experience before they'll fully commit to more shopping, which is in comparison to only 16 percent holding the same belief about online shopping. Making in-store shopping simpler and more seamless, such as giving more ability to check product availability before heading out to the store, would have huge benefits for companies, as would real-time information about inventory levels and up-to-date traffic information.

Equipment and business industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.