Modern Technology Lacking in Most Small Businesses

By Jason Bramwell
Although a little more than half of small business owners who were recently surveyed by online marketing firm Yodle Inc. use technology for accounting, only a minority use automated technology for other key business operations, such as appointment booking and scheduling, customer relationship management (CRM), and acquisition marketing.
Earlier this summer, Yodle polled 306 US small business owners across a large array of service industries for its inaugural Small Business Sentiment Survey. The survey examines small business owners' perspective on such issues as modern technology use, professional and personal worries, work-life balance, and government and institutional support.
"We have served small businesses for eight years and always want to stay as informed as possible so that we can best understand their state of mind and challenges," Louis Gagnon, Yodle chief product and marketing officer, said in a written statement.
Asked about their technology and marketing approaches, 51 percent of small business owners use modern technology for accounting, followed by 39 percent who use technology for appointment booking and scheduling, 34 percent for CRM, 25 percent for point-of-sale systems, and 14 percent for acquisition marketing. 
Almost one in four (23 percent) of small business owners report they don't spend any money on marketing, while just more than half (56 percent) spend less than $500 a month. 

Additional Key Survey Findings

  • Fifty-two percent of small business owners work forty hours or less, however, 39 percent work between forty-one and sixty hours per week, and 9 percent work more than sixty hours a week. 
  • Seventy-two percent take at least two weeks of vacation per year, 27 percent take four or more weeks of vacation per year, and 11 percent take no vacation.
  • Seventy-three percent of small business owners believe the federal government is more of a hindrance than a help. Although some respondents identified several institutions as helpful, such as trade associations (34 percent) and banks (26 percent), 39 percent do not think any organizations - including those specifically established to support them - are useful.
  • What are the top three effective marketing channels small business owners use for finding new customers? Number one is word of mouth (78 percent), followed by business referrals (54 percent) and business websites (31 percent).
Another area within technology and marketing in which small business owners are lacking: websites. According to the survey, 52 percent of small business owners do not have a website, and 90 percent do not have a mobile-optimized website. 
Small business owners also reported significant professional and personal worries.
Their top professional worries include:
  • Finding new customers (42 percent)
  • Affording health care and other employee benefits (39 percent)
  • Keeping current customers (33 percent)
  • Paying bills for the business (33 percent) 
More than six in ten respondents (61 percent) also stated they think the Affordable Care Act will have a negative impact on small businesses. 
The top personal concerns for small business owners are:
  • Affording health care (48 percent)
  • Saving for retirement (46 percent)
  • Providing an adequate lifestyle for their family (33 percent) 
But despite these concerns, 91 percent of survey respondents said they are happy to be small business owners, including 55 percent who are "extremely happy." A majority of small business owners (59 percent) also shared they would likely not consider selling their business over the next few years, indicating optimism and satisfaction.
About the survey:
For its inaugural Small Business Sentiment Survey, Yodle Inc. commissioned an online survey in June 2013 through a third-party research firm to measure the true sentiment of small business owners. The 306 small business owners surveyed from across the country own small businesses in a variety of white- and blue-collar industries, ranging from financial services and law to construction.
Related articles:

You may like these other stories...

Boehner addresses GOP priorities ahead of midterm electionsHouse Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Thursday delivered what amounted to closing arguments ahead of the November elections, laying out a list of Republican...
Financial advisors love accountants. They call, send mail, and want to buy you lunch. Their object is to cultivate you as a referral source. And you wouldn't mind a few referrals either. Also, this could be a chance to...
Former DOJ Tax Division head Kathryn Keneally joining DLA Piper in New YorkGlobal law firm DLA Piper announced on Thursday that Kathryn Keneally, the former head of the US Justice Department Tax Division, is joining the firm...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 21
Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience's communication style.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.