Mobile devices and solutions are not only making the lives of small business owners easier, they are also becoming an essential part of the way they do business.
New research has found that 42 percent of small business owners say it would be a huge challenge to operate their businesses without mobile services. Furthermore, an additional one in three business owners say their businesses could not survive without mobile services. Mobile services are defined as those able to be accessed through smartphones, tablets and other devices.
Small business owners are embracing mobile technologies because they want to be able to work from anywhere at any time. Nearly 90 percent of business owners say that the ability to work remotely at any time is a top concern. An additional 79 percent of respondents say the ability to work remotely from vacation is important, despite the fact that 41 percent of respondents take vacation less than two times a year and 18 percent never take vacation.
"Small and medium-sized businesses have clearly confirmed the growing importance of mobile services accessed via phone, smartphone and tablet devices when it comes to operating their business,"said Bill Thomson, senior director of product management at Cbeyond, a provider of cloud and communication services that conducted the research. "Like any growing business, they want to ensure that they are serving their customers and prospects with the highest possible quality and responsiveness."
To ensure their success, small business owners are also planning to spend on new technologies. Nearly 60 percent of respondents say they will increase spending on tech in 2013 while 13 percent expect a decrease in spending. The top technologies on which those business owners will be spending include high-speed network access, mobile services, support, applications, voice, broadband and cloud services.
Business owners are also investing in social media. Forty-seven percent of business owners say social media is important to growth.
Those technologies make entrepreneurs' lives easier in a number of ways, but respondents admit they create problems as well. Nearly one-third of respondents say their information is not adequately protected. To that end, data security is seen as being equally as important as serving customers in the minds of small business owners.
"The findings continue to shed light on the business and economic issues impacting American small and midsized businesses today, as reflected through regional diversity and the mix of business to business and business to consumer company leaders represented in our survey," said Paul Carmody, chief marketing officer at Cbeyond. "Most interestingly, rather than accepting restrictions, small- and medium-sized businesses are increasingly adopting technology and communication solutions — such as mobility and consumer-driven social media — that enable them to break free of traditional boundaries in order to compete and remain successful."
The research was based on the responses of 711 executives running businesses that employ less than 250 workers.