There are readily available statistics that will tell you:
- The way customers interact with small businesses is changing
- Small businesses that use technology have higher growth and profits
- There is still room for small businesses to improve the use of technology
Why am I telling you this? Because maybe it’s time to reassess the use of technology at your small business. Let’s find out why!
The way customers interact with small businesses is changing
There is no good reason to invest in technology simply because the technology now exists. And technology has been rapidly developing. But investing in technology for the sake of it is unwise.
Small business owners should only invest in technology if customer behaviours have changed to make the old ways of serving them less relevant, and because the technology makes running a business more efficient and profitable. Well, there is a strong reason to believe that is now the case.
Here are some statistics as proof:
- 73% of customers agree that technology improves the customer experience.
- 58% of consumers in the U.S. prefer to pay without cash.
- 15% of global consumers say that they would like to be able to pay with their smartphone when paying for products from small businesses.
- 34% of consumers said that the availability of contactless or mobile payment options are important technologies during and after COVID-19.
- Over 80% of small food service businesses report higher use of technology like online ordering, reservation and inventory apps and analytics.
- 92% of all top-performing small food service businesses offered mobile ordering and loyalty rewards programs, or a combination of both.
- 95% of small business owners agree that technology improves their business efficiency.
Online and touchless ordering, delivery and payment saw massive spikes starting in 2020. Small business owners that invest in the necessary hardware and software to support online order, delivery and payment, and other safety measures will have advantages over their competition.
Small businesses that use technology have higher growth and profits
It can be difficult for small business owners to justify investments in technology, especially ones that have been in business for a long time and are doing just fine. But the right technology investments do have a positive payoff. For example, small businesses that fully utilize technology:
- Earn two times more revenue per employee.
- Experienced nearly four times the revenue growth annually.
- Are almost three times more likely to create jobs in the next year.
Technology and the data it provides have been massive enablers for the top performing small businesses. Having the right systems in place, with the right integrations is a true game changer.
There is still room for small businesses to improve the use of technology
A recent study found that 80% of small businesses are not taking full advantage of available technology. As we have seen, this appears to be a missed opportunity as customers increasingly want to engage with small businesses through technology and the best performing businesses use technology to improve their operations.
While you might have adopted some technology solutions, overall there is room to grow technology use across a number of areas:
- 84% of small businesses are using at least one digital platform to share their products.
- 79% of small businesses are using digital tools to communicate with suppliers and customers.
- 55% of small business owners say that technology manages customer interactions.
Over time these rates will trend towards 100%, and there are always new areas to look at technology solutions. For example, technology to engage with customers, suppliers, or to run your business on.
Even if you believe your business has adopted most of the technology solutions that will help, most small businesses also have an opportunity to learn to use technology better and increase the effort to get the value out of their technology investments:
- 68% of small business owners and managers review sales reports on a regular basis.
- 45% of small business owners and managers regularly review labor reports.
- 25% of small business owners and managers admitted that they don’t check sales and labor reports on a regular basis.
Again, there’s room for improvement.
Like with any small business operation, technology investment and optimisation is a continual process. Finding and adopting technologies that are right for your business, but also making sure you have processes and training in place to use it to maximum effect.
If there’s one thing that can make you feel more comfortable, we have established that (done right) the effort is well worth it.
Here’s a final set of stats for you:
- In 2021, 72% of small business owners grew their online presence.
- 71% of small business owners said they survived the pandemic because they invested in digital transformation.
I hope you are walking away from this post with an understanding of the importance of technology to small businesses, and it will help you make sure your small business thrives in the future.
Before you go...
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The little optimisations, the high-impact tweaks and the 1% gains you can make to your business to make it a little better, a little more profitable and even a little bit more pleasant to run.
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