Small businesses are becoming quite mobile these days, way more than simply the people working from home and the wireless Internet is playing a big part in this mobility, according to a new study done by eMarketer.com.
In November 2009, the number of US small businesses that were dependent on mobile and/or wireless technology boiled down to nearly half of respondents indicating that without it, they could potentially be challenged to operate their business. Less than a quarter of respondents said that they were solely dependent on having wireless technologies present in order to do business. With the growing numbers of businesses and startups operating without a physical location, this study makes considerable sense. People with simply their laptops and mobile devices need to conduct businesses and now service vendors and manufacturers are starting to pay attention to this growing trend.
In fact, just watch an iPhone commercial or take a look at what mobile providers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are offering these days with their netbooks – the iPhone is becoming more of a hybrid mobile phone and personal computer and small businesses are leveraging the applications that third-parties create in order to help them conduct business, whether it’s through email, writing receipts, conducting research or acting like a virtual portfolio. Now with the introduction of Square, the iPhone has become a miniature cash register allowing business people to accept payments on the spot.
Wireless technology is the base of the entrepreneurial spirit right now. No longer are people bound to their desks with a ethernet cable. According to the eMarketer article, in this study conducted by AT&T on small business technology needs, over the next two years, small businesses plan on increasing their use of mobile and wireless technologies. So what are some top uses by small businesses?
- Small businesses’ top uses of laptop data cards and Wi-Fi hotspots were for checking e-mail (done by more than eight in 10 respondents) and surfing the Web (57%) on the go.
- Smartphones were used slightly less for those purposes but were of course vital as mobile phones (91%).
Small businesses are no longer your typical mom & pop style shop, but rather entrepreneurs with an idea who want to co-work and work beyond the traditional setting of a business. As you can see, simply having the ability to operate “on the fly” with a wireless signal means that you’re always connected and able to do work in a virtual environment.
How dependent are you on a wireless signal for your work? Do you have your employees tied down in an office with an ethernet cable or are they free to branch off and work wherever there’s a wireless signal?