In the 30-plus years I’ve been writing about small business, one thing has leveled the playing field for entrepreneurs more than any other: technology. But too many small businesses are failing to take advantage of the edge technology can bring, according to The Center for the Urban Future’s just-released study, Smarter Small Businesses.
The study focused on New York City small businesses because 90 percent of small businesses there have fewer than 20 employees. As such, the area is a microcosm of the challenges facing the average small business owner. Here’s some of what the study found:
The older the business owners, the less likely they were to use technology effectively. But, higher-income business owners were more likely than those with incomes under $55,000 to have a website and use other technology tools (81 percent vs. 59 percent).
Small business owners are aware of their shortcomings—more than half of those in the survey admitted their use of technology wasn’t sufficient to keep them competitive.
While many said the cost of technology kept them from adopting it, in my opinion, you can’t afford not to use technology. How can you make smart choices? Four steps:
Whether you’re considering investing in a smartphone, a laptop or sales software, technology costs are dropping by the day. If you’re getting by without key technology just to save a few hundred dollars, you’re being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
The mentors at SCORE can help you create a technology plan for your business—no matter how tech-clueless you are. Visit the SCORE website or call 1-800-634-0245 to get matched with a mentor and get free business help.