Global Survey: US Small Biz Owners Most Likely to Delay Adopting New TechEditorial Team
There are 31.7 million small businesses in the United States. And we constantly hear about the good they do for local communities and the national economy overall. Our society reveres them as an integral part and supports them as such.
And yet, in comparison to other countries, they’re laggards in regards to technology adoption. According to a recent study by Xero, small businesses in the US were the most likely to delay adopting new technology (when compared to Canada, the UK, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia).
In addition, the survey also found that US small business owners were the least likely to:
- Stress about competitors gaining an edge by upgrading their technology (3 in 10)
- Declare that the safest course of action is to stick to existing technology solutions (less than 5 in 10)
- Say they can’t handle the effort needed to adopt new technology (less than 3 in 10)
Why Small Businesses Hesitate to Accept Tech
Small businesses hesitate to accept tech in the United States for a few reasons. But the two paramount stopgaps are those related to money and efficacy.
Many small business owners seem to believe that technology isn’t worth the investment. This is because they think that the return won’t be viable enough to make a difference in their bottom lines.
However, businesses can also use technology in relation to different reasons. More seamless processes, increased free time, and ultimately better mental health are a few to mention.
According to the same study mentioned above, the majority of small business owners in the US “work to live” vs. “live to work.”
But, nearly half wake up feeling anxious every day. If given extra three hours, almost none said they would invest that time back in their overall wellbeing. Instead, they need to use it to catch up on business admin, performance, and planning for the future.
This lack of automation to remove tedious admin tasks creates a negative cycle related to workload and mental health. Incorporating the right automation would not only improve a small business owner’s ability to plan and meet goals but also increase the amount of free time they have to do what they want to do.
How do We Stop the Cycle?
First and foremost, in order to adopt new tech successfully, a business needs to develop a digital footprint and implement cloud computing. This means moving anything that’s currently physical (e.g., bills, receipts, customer records, etc.) into a database of sorts.
Once this is complete, there needs to be a period of self-reflection wherein a business owner looks at the business’ imminent needs. Ask yourself about current issues: Are employees not getting paid on time? Are appropriate follow-ups not being made to customers?
Perhaps then, what you need is an accounting software platform, or a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, which reinforces reminders and next steps. This not only formalizes those processes but also frees up the valuable headspace of a business owner by putting certain tasks in the loop.
Finally, after a few months of using the above, owners will have access to a broader spectrum of data about their business and how it functions – where peaks and valleys in revenue are, customer behavior analysis (including demographic breakdowns, etc.), and beyond. This will, in the long run, prove invaluable to continued learning, development, and growth.
Ben Richmond is a Chartered Accountant and Country Manager, United States, at Xero – a global cloud accounting platform for small businesses. Ben has a big passion for small businesses. He helps companies automate/simplify their processes through better use of technology, enabling them to become more financially organized while effectively servicing their customers.
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