Small business owners today are forced to find new ways to remain competitive in light of strengthening competition. One way they are accomplishing this is through increased reliance on technologies that are available to them through wireless technologies including Smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps.
The 2013 AT&T Small business Technology Poll made a few revealing discoveries about how small business is quickly embracing the bounties technology has to offer. Perhaps one of the most surprising discoveries of the poll is that 98 percent of small businesses actively use wireless technologies in their business operations.
The poll displays the results of a nationwide survey conducted of small businesses that employ between two and 99 employees. Sixty-six percent of small business owners believe their business could not survive, or would face extreme difficulties in doing so, without the wireless technologies.
Usage of 4G Smartphones for business, for instance, is up 70 percent from 2012, according to the survey. Today 85 percent of small businesses use smartphones as part of their daily operations.
Part of this may be due to the fact that small businesses often rely on inexpensive advertising methods such as word of mouth and social media. The wide availability of 4G LTE connectivity has made wireless technologies a more viable force for small businesses today — with 56 percent of Smartphones used today making use of 4G LTE networks, with 90 percent showing satisfaction with the speed of these networks.
Businesses are also showing an increased dependence upon mobile apps in 2013, with nearly one third (31 percent) using mobile apps. The top three reasons businesses cite for using mobile applications include saving time, reducing costs, and improving productivity.
Among the businesses who use mobile apps, the most common apps, by far, are those related to GPS and navigation with 74 percent admitting to using these types of apps. Other popular choices for mobile apps include apps that provide location based services, document management tools, address social media marketing needs, and allow employees to work remotely.
Employers use tablet devices in more than two-thirds, or 69 percent, of small businesses today.
One interesting note regarding tablets, though, is the fact that the instances of usage for business increased with the number of employees. For instance, 90 percent of employers who employ 51 to 99 people use tablets while only one in seven of smaller businesses with fewer than 51 employees do.
Additionally, newer businesses are more likely to use tablets at 80 percent than those who have been in business for two years or more.
Small businesses today face many challenges; the AT&T survey reveals that they are thinking outside of traditional boxes to find solutions that help them remain viable forces in a marketplace that is increasingly competitive.