Yodle has released the findings from its first Small Business Sentiment Survey, which recently asked 306 small business owners nationwide for their perspectives on a variety of topics, and found some interesting results when it comes to SMBs and technology. According to the survey, which was conducted by a third-party research firm, “many small business owners are still not adopting modern technology and marketing approaches.”
According to the results, 52% of SMBs still don’t have a website, and more than half also don’t measure the results of their marketing programs. While 51% of SMBs do use some type of accounting operations technology, less use “appointment booking and scheduling (39%), customer relationship management (34%), point-of-sale systems (25%), and acquisition marketing (14%).”
Louis Gagnon, Yodle’s chief product and marketing officer, offered some ideas as to why that might be. The key word: complexity.
“It’s just very complex,” he told Street Fight. “It takes time and it takes expertise to absorb complexity. It used to be that you received a visit from a rep with the Yellow Pages. He brought a bottle of wine and some chocolates, you signed up for the service, and you saw yourself in the Yellow Pages.
“Now, you have to be online, but what does that mean? And how do you do it? You need a website and SEO on top of that and there’s more work to go. You don’t know a lot of information. It’s a normal education thing, but if you are a plumber or a contractor, you’re on the roof all day. You come home, have dinner, do billing, return calls, and then maybe you get to the website. Small businesses are tradespeople mostly. Tradespeople do their trade; they aren’t professional business managers.”
The key, at least from Yodle’s perspective, is convincing the SMB owners that allowing a company such as Yodle to manage the entire operation is vital. That can be difficult, however, since the average small business spends just $300 a month on marketing.
A few other findings from the study:
* SMB owners have many and varied concerns: “The top three personal concerns for SMB owners are affording healthcare (48%), saving for retirement (46%) and providing an adequate lifestyle for their family (33%). The top three professional worries are finding new customers (42%), affording healthcare and other employee benefits (39%) and keeping current customers (33%),” a summary release reports.
* SMB owners manage to work and play: 52% of SMB owners work 40 hours or less and 72% take at least two weeks of vacation per year.
Noah Davis is a senior editor at Street Fight.