What if a genie could magically give you another hour in your workday or something to help increase your sales? What would you wish for? Our agency recently asked small business owners these types of questions.

In my last post, I discussed how small business owners are using broadband and other technology to grow their companies and other results from the AT&T Accelerate Your Business Broadband Poll.* Today, let’s look at their wish lists in terms of doing more for themselves and their customers, as well as the one technology they can’t live without. 

“If I had an extra hour …”

If given an extra hour in the day, most businesses would use the time to improve their skills (24 percent) or try new marketing tactics (21 percent). Larger small businesses—those with 11-20 employees—would focus on strategy (23 percent vs. 13 percent of all businesses polled), while fast-growing businesses—those with anticipated revenue growth of more than 10 percent—would improve their skills or try new marketing tactics (both at 22 percent).

We also polled small businesses in four cities—Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles—to see if they want something different. Turns out they do:

  • Los Angeles businesses were much more interested in trying new marketing tactics (29 percent) than they were in improving their skills (17 percent).
  • Small business owners in Dallas would use the time to make more sales calls (19 percent vs. 14 percent nationwide).
  • Owners in Chicago and Atlanta would use the time to improve their skills (30 percent and 28 percent, respectively).
“To improve customer service, I would …”

Businesses plan to provide more special offers to their current customers to improve service (43 percent), followed by increasing website speed (28 percent). In contrast, the larger businesses we polled care more about increasing their website speed (49 percent).

Among the four cities:

  • Dallas businesses would like to make their websites more accessible to mobile users (27 percent vs. 22 percent nationwide).
  • Chicago and Los Angeles businesses want to increase website speed (34 percent and 32 percent, respectively, vs. 28 percent overall).
  • Atlanta small businesses want to make it easier for shoppers to check their order status (29 percent vs. 24 percent overall).
“The one technology I can’t live without is …”

While having Internet access ranks first among all of our polled businesses (49 percent), fast-growing companies rely on their smartphones more than the rest of the population (24 percent vs. 18 percent).

In the four cities, we polled:

  • Businesses in Los Angeles rely most on their Internet access (54 percent vs. 49 percent nationwide).
  • Chicago businesses are attached to their PCs (25 percent vs. 21 percent overall).
  • Atlanta and Dallas small business owners can’t live without their smartphones (23 percent and 22 percent, respectively, vs. 18 percent nationwide).
How does your wish list compare to those businesses in our poll? Tell me about it here.


*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 percent level of confidence.

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.