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Small Businesses Have Fallen Behind in Modern Technology Use

Phil Cohen

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Despite a wealth of available technology for small business owners to maximize their business, Yodle Inc.’s Small Business Sentiment Survey reports that fewer than half of the business owners surveyed use technology for anything beyond accounting functions. Other top uses of technology include appointment booking (39 percent), customer relationship management (34 percent), and point-of-sale systems (25 percent).

The survey includes responses from 306 small business owners nationwide. Of the respondents, only 22 percent spend more than $500 on their monthly marketing and only three percent spend more than $2000. An astounding 56 percent of respondents do not measure results from marketing, and 78 percent report that word of mouth is most effective in attracting new customers.

Despite these numbers, business owners also state that finding new customers and keeping current ones, hiring good employees, and competition is among their top professional concerns.

In addition, the survey presents some interesting potential explanations for the lack of technology use. Among these are worries about affording healthcare and employee benefits, which rated number two among professional concerns and number one among personal concerns. Nearly two-thirds of business owners expressed concern about the coming implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Also at play is a lack of faith in the federal government’s support of small businesses. Seventy-five percent of respondents are dissatisfied with tax incentives offered to small businesses, and only 24 percent believe that the federal government helps rather than hinders. In an uncertain financial environment, small business owners are less likely to increase spending on modern technology offerings.

One further possible reason for the technology gap is the demographic characteristics of respondents.

Age could be a factor in reluctance to adopt new technology: 82 percent of surveyed business owners are over the age of 50, and more than half of those are over the age of 60. Length of time in business is also an indicator; 51 percent have owned their business for longer than 15 years and maybe either very comfortable with the way they have always done things or concerned about trying something new in a volatile environment.

Finally, the number of employees may affect a business owner’s willingness to adopt new technology. Only seven percent of companies employ more than 10 employees, while 26 percent of respondents report having no employees. Though technology is designed to improve efficiency and generally does so in the long run, many business owners may feel they do not have enough employees to justify using technology or to afford the time to train them on top of other day-to-day company responsibilities.

Whatever the reasons, technology companies have a large hurdle to overcome in attracting small business owners to use their products.

Factor Finders can help small business owners build the cash flow to invest in modern technology. Our small business factoring program serves a variety of industries and offers flexible funding to best meet the unique needs of small businesses around the country. Contact us today to find out how small business factoring can help your company.

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Phil Cohen

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