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Businesses Embrace Technology

The case for teching up

Technology Trends

“Every industry is becoming a tech industry and the rate of change is increasing.” –Michael Dell

Today’s businesses and consumers expect to be able to interact with businesses through digital tools and online technology. The benefits are real and significant. Businesses using digital technology get greater insight into what their customers want, are able to strengthen relationships with them, get access to new markets and can target new customers…all at a relatively reasonable cost. 

But according to the Connected Small Businesses in the United States study, a Deloitte small business study commissioned by Google a few years ago, 80 percent of businesses were not taking advantage of the tools available to them, and 20% foregoing  even the basic tools. Not surprising, the top 20% of businesses that leveraged online technology and digital tools realized significant benefits over the bottom 20%. For starters, they:

  • Earned 2X as much revenue per employee
  • Experienced 4X the revenue growth over the previous year
  • Were almost 3X as likely to be creating jobs over the previous year
  • Had more than 6X the average employment growth rate
  • Were 3X as likely to have exported over the previous year

So why do some businesses embrace technology and others don’t, despite the significant benefits?

Research Says…

Deloitte’s Connected Business study included more than 2,000 small business leaders with the objective to assess how US small businesses used digital tools and to quantify the impact of digital engagement on their businesses.

When asked what were the key factors driving digital engagement among small businesses, owners and managers cited the following  –

  • Increased sales and revenue38% of small businesses said they experienced increased sales and revenue as a benefit of using digital tools. Women-owned small businesses identified increased sales as the #1 benefit resulting from using digital tools.
  • Increased market reach and brand promotion – 30% of small businesses said promoting brand awareness and accessing new customers was a top benefit for them.
  • Enhanced customer engagement and communication –  another 30% cited the ability to connect 24/7 with customers and improved external communications as key drivers.

The level of digital engagement among the small businesses resulted in a normal distribution of 20%-30%-30%-20% and the resultant classification of basic, intermediate, high and advanced levels. Not surprising, the different engagement levels utilized a broad range of digital tools. What should be noted is that while these tools represent a general utility, each small business will use a specific set of digital tools depending on their customers, operations and other business-specific requirements. Click here for the infographic depicting the breakdown.  

Finally, the study wanted to address what’s holding small businesses back in the digital age? With so many small businesses not fully embracing digital technology, it was thought that substantial barriers might include unable to access broadband, a lack of technological skills, or enormous financial costs. This, however, was not the case. The actual barriers were – 

  • Unaware of the benefits to their business –  Among the least digitally engaged small businesses, 40% believed that digital tools were ‘not relevant for my business’, and 38% thought they were ‘not effective for my business.’
  • Concerned about privacy and security – 34% of the least digitally engaged identified ‘privacy and security concerns’ among the top three barriers.
  • Lack of personal experience in technology – The technologies that are used in our personal lives can often be similar to the technologies that are relevant for our businesses.

Key Takeaways

The research presented in the report shows there can be huge payoffs when small businesses use digital technology. So what’s needed to increase the rate of adoption or small businesses?

  • Increase awareness of the benefits – Onc of the significant barriers cited by small businesses is the lack of knowledge of the benefits of digital tools and how they could help their business.
  • Improve training – Once small business leaders understand the benefits to their business, they’ll need to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to utilize the technologies.
  • Understand that it’s a personal journey for their business – There isn’t a standard technology template, no “one size fits all” for small and medium businesses. It’s different for every business, so it’s important to just get started and go at the pace with which you are most comfortable.

Are you ready to get started or want to continue your digital technology journey? I’d love to help!

Source: For more information on Deloitte’s Connected Businesses study, you can download the study. There is also a companion video that offers more details about the study. Click here to view the video.

embracing Tech Infographic

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