That’s the learning from a poll our agency just conducted for AT&T, where we surveyed more than 600 principals at small businesses around the country and in four large cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles.* When analyzing the results, we found many owners realize that the limited tools they used to start their businesses just don’t cut it as they grow.
Here are some key highlights:
Almost two-thirds (63%) of larger small businesses—those with 11 to 20 employees—plan to upgrade their broadband technology this year to increase productivity compared to 46% of small businesses overall. Priority tasks for these larger small businesses include increasing Internet speed (39% vs. 26% of all small businesses) and providing more wireless tools and services (39% vs. 20%).
Fast-growing small businesses are focusing heavily on improving their websites and marketing through social media. Fifty-seven percent of those that expect double-digit revenue growth will enhance their websites vs. 45% overall. Sixty percent of fast-growth companies will focus on social media marketing compared to 47% overall.
Larger small businesses know customers expect fast responses on the Web. Twenty-eight percent will invest in improving response time this year vs. 21% of all small businesses.
Key results for urban areas include:
Small businesses in Atlanta are adopting new technology especially quickly. Fifty-four percent will upgrade their technology to improve productivity this year vs. 46% nationally. They also expect fast growth: 44% forecast double-digit revenue increases vs. 35% nationwide.
Small companies in Chicago are embracing wireless and focusing on their websites. Twenty-seven percent will implement wireless technology to increase productivity compared to 20% of their national peers. More than half (55%) will enhance their websites vs. 45% nationwide.
Small businesses in Dallas are investing in technology to reach customers more effectively. Fifty-four percent plan to upgrade their technology this year vs. 46% nationally. Twenty-seven percent expect to make their websites more accessible to mobile users vs. 22% nationally.
Small businesses are going wireless quickly in L.A. Twenty-eight percent plan to provide more wireless tools and services to employees this year compared to 20% nationwide. Forty-seven percent expect to improve the look and feel of their websites vs. 36% nationwide.
From helping increase productivity to improving response time on the Internet, the right technology is no longer a “nice to have” option. In today’s business world, it’s a necessity to keep up with continual change. What are you doing to accelerate your growth? I’d love to hear what you’re doing.
Alice Bredin is America’s foremost small business expert, with more than 15 years of experience in the small business market. She has provided highly practical, actionable advice to millions of business owners through her books, syndicated newspaper column, radio commentary, and small business forums.
*The AT&T Accelerate Your Business Broadband Poll was conducted among a representative sample of 616 principals of companies in the United States with 1 to 20 employees by Bredin Inc. in April-May 2013. The poll had a margin of error of +/-5 percentage points at the 90% level of confidence.