Cox Business released the results of its first small business survey and the findings included that email was still the most critical communications tool, social media is lacking and Steve Jobs was the top entrepreneurial idol.

Cox Business, which was an early pioneer in the commercial services sector among cable operators, surveyed 605 small business owners and managers in its footprint to get their thoughts on business-related issues.

The small business survey, called #SBWsurvey by Cox, found that while email was reputed to be on the decline, 40 percent of the respondents said it was the tool most critical to the success of their of their daily communications. Email topped cell phones, social media and personnel communications in the survey.

Social media accounted for only 5 percent of business owners and managers’ daily communication success. Social media also lagged on the marketing front as 33 percent of the survey respondents said social media wasn’t a factor in their marketing efforts.

On the entrepreneurial idol front, Steve Jobs racked up 21 percent of the vote while Ben Franklin (really?) came in second with 17 percent. Walt Disney pulled in third with 15 percent of the vote.

“Looks like the world needs a new living role model,” Cox Business opined in today’s press release.

Other survey highlights included:

• Most participants in the survey want to pave their own path—almost two/thirds of the respondents are motivated to own or manage their own business in order to be their own boss and build something of their own. 

• Only 8 percent of the survey respondents were motivated to manage or own their own business just to make big money.

• Despite the slumping economy, 43 percent of the small businesses surveyed have never considered closing shop.

• The digital world often develops at lightning speed. Keeping up with this technology is what author Brian Solis calls, "Digital Darwinism."  Of the small business managers and owners surveyed 37 percent thought they were evolving just fine, while 32 percent said they were attempting but didn't think they could really keep up.

• Over half of the owners and managers of small businesses agreed that emerging technology enhanced their business as opposed to being disruptive to it.

More details on Cox Business' #SBWsurvey can be found on, which, on a somewhat ironic note, is the social media site that Cox Business launched for SMBs last year.