By Charles H. Green
Technology advancements over the past 20 years have had a significant impact on busines and industry, which has led to major changes in output, costs, productivity, employment, marketing and connectivity among other business metrics. Small companies have often been on the leading edge of these changes because they are more nimble and will often realize faster improvements (and profits) by adapting sooner.
The National Small Business Association (NSBA) recently conducted their second survey of technology adoption and dependency among their members and posted some interesting results. Among their key findings was a marked increase in usage of laptops also, from 67 percent in 2010 to 84 percent in 2013.
An interesting tangential finding was the drop in the number of small-business owners who pay an outside firm to handle their information technology (IT), which they asserted was likely driven by two factors: the economic challenges small businesses have faced in the past few years; and improved IT platforms and the growing reliance on–and therefore need to understand—these technology tools and platforms.
Other results from the small companies surveyed:
41% use tablet devices (which were not available during the 2010 survey);
60% allow some employees to telecommute (an increase of over one-third);
50% don’t have broadband or fast-speed internet because it’s still not available;
27% still don’t use social media to promote themselves.
Why is technology a ‘finance issue’ that should concern business lenders? Because it represents a harbinger of the future horizon for the success of that business.
1. Adaptation of new technology signals better productivity is ahead at a cheaper price;
2. Smaller firms can compete more effectively when visable through the web and recognized in social media. Without breaking into these frontiers, that business will be lost to anyone trying to find it.
3. Mobility will be the most heavily-travelled portal through which future consumers conduct business.
Read more at NSBA.