How important is technology to today’s small business? So important, according to the recently released Brother Small Business Survey from Brother International Corp., that 75 percent of small business owners say a crashed computer disrupts their business more than a sick employee.
Although small business owners rely on technology to keep their businesses productive, they also find it difficult to manage their technology. Some 86 percent say that in the past year, they had a situation where malfunctioning office equipment hindered their business’s productivity. And two-thirds (66 percent) of small business owners admit they’re “frequently” overwhelmed by the amount of technology options available to help them run their businesses.
Technology is so crucial to smooth functioning of a business that nearly one-third (31 percent) of small business owners say they’d gladly give up a week’s worth of vacation if it could ensure they’d never suffer a tech malfunction in their business again.
While small business owners are still cautious about spending, they recognize the value of technology. Slightly more than half (52 percent) say it’s important to invest in their business to gain an edge over competitors. When they do invest, the most common area to spend on is technology-related capital investments such as software, mobile apps and cloud computing services. The next most popular investments, machinery and facilities, were far behind at 21 and 20 percent respectively.
Speaking of cloud computing, small business owners are still not widely embracing this technology, perhaps due to confusion about how it can help their businesses. Only 28 percent of small business owners say they fully understand what cloud computing is, while 42 percent do not use it at all. (That means a lot of entrepreneurs are using it without fully understanding it).
What are entrepreneurs using cloud computing for? About one-third (35 percent) use it only for data storage; 21 percent use it for document management, and 17 percent use it for business applications such as customer relations management, accounting and human resources.
Image by Flickr user Ell Brown (Creative Commons)Google+