Small Businesses Turning to Technology, Not Hiring

Many small businesses across the country are now finding themselves in significantly improved financial positions after what might have been years of difficulties sparked by the recent recession and its fallout. Now, though, with more money coming in, it appears as though many such companies are looking for new ways to get a bigger return on investment than simply hiring more workers.

Today, 72 percent of small business owners believe that they’re going to see a larger return on their investment if they put some of the extra money they have on hand toward purchasing new technology, rather than hiring workers, according to the fifth annual Brother Small Business Survey from Brother International Corporation. Conversely, only slightly more than one in four entrepreneurs thought bringing on more workers would lead to a great financial return than updating technology.

However, there remain many issues with even getting to that point, as more than three in five owners say that they’re a little overwhelmed by the technologies available to them in terms of improving their companies, the report said. Many also see such investment as something of a risk; half felt that if they did so too quickly they might not see quite so large a return on that investment, and the other half think they’re putting themselves at a disadvantage in comparison with their competitors if they don’t do it.

“Our survey shows that while small business owners understand the value of new technologies, they are still a bit overwhelmed and struggle with choosing the right time to adopt them to have the greatest impact on their business,” said John Wandishin, vice president of marketing for Brother.

What do they think is required?
When it comes to actually utilizing new technologies available to them, the most popular option seems to be smartphones and tablet PCs, which are favored by 41 percent of owners, the report said. Another 32 percent cited customer relationship management tools as the most critical to successfully operating their businesses, while about one in five cited social media technology, and slightly less than one in six thought cloud services were the most necessary to their companies.

Owners worried about these issues may want to trim some of the fat from their budgets so they have a little more room to work with. This might include finding lower-cost small business insurance coverage, such as liability insurance, to reduce costs by as much as a few thousand dollars per year.