By Rieva Lesonsky
Without a doubt, the hottest business development of the past few years has been the rapid adoption of mobile technology by consumers. Now small businesses are finally following suit, reports Constant Contact: The percentage of small businesses implementing mobile technology has grown from two-thirds last year to over three-quarters (77 percent) this year.
How exactly are small businesses adopting mobile?
First, small businesses are recognizing mobile technology’s value as a marketing tool.
- 60 percent of small businesses now have mobile-optimized websites, almost double the 34 percent that did in 2013.
- In addition, 32 percent say they’re interested in creating a mobile-optimized website within the next six months.
- While still not adopted on a wide scale, mobile advertising has more than doubled, from the 10 percent that used it last year to 21 percent this year, and almost one-fourth are interesting in using it within the next six months.
- Less popular: Text message marketing has actually declined a bit; it’s used by just 13 percent of small businesses, compared to 15 percent last year.
Small businesses are also using mobile technology to run better businesses:
- 61 percent use mobile storage apps
- 58 percent use scheduling or calendar apps
- 51 percent use financial management apps
- 36 percent use a mobile point-of-sale solution
So what’s the deal with the 23 percent of businesses that aren’t using any type of mobile technology?
- 40 percent say their customers don’t want it
- 36 percent say they don’t know how to use it
- 31 percent say they don’t have time to implement mobile technology
- 21 percent say they don’t use a smartphone for business.
What’s the takeaway for your business? First, if you’re already using mobile solutions, congratulations. I think it’s pretty clear by now that mobile technology is not a fad, but the wave of the future.
Second, if you’re not using mobile technology, let me debunk your reasons:
- “I don’t have time.” In today’s economy, this is kind of like saying you don’t have time to manage your finances, follow up on receivables or market your business. I know it takes time, but it’s essential to do.
- “I don’t have a smartphone for business.” If you don’t have a smartphone, you’re being left behind. Get one—now.
- “My customers don’t want it.” Maybe your current customers don’t want mobile marketing or POS—but future generations are growing up with mobile as second nature. Unless you expect your business to die out with your current customers, you’ve got to offer what new customers and prospects want.
- “I don’t know how to use it.” Fair enough—mobile technology is far from second nature to those of us over, say, 25. However, there are plenty of places to get help, including SCORE and your local SBDC, and no excuse for not doing so. (Disclosure: SCORE and the LA-SBDC network are clients of my company).