Lack of Software Slows Small Business Growth

Database company FileMaker reports that while business software has become more powerful and affordable, many small businesses are failing to take advantage of software to grow their sales and profits.
In a nationwide survey commissioned by FileMaker, Inc., 48 percent of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees say they still use a paper-based system to organize key business data, such as customer information. The survey also revealed that 45 percent of small businesses agree that their business would “grow significantly” if they could automate more of their marketing activities.
“Although many small businesses have the basic technology tools they need to succeed, it’s clear that most of them are not maximizing the power of databases and the Web to serve their customers more effectively,” said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services for FileMaker, Inc. “Web-based and email marketing can automate many strategic functions for time-pressed small businesses.”
Major Small Business Survey Findings
The November 2005 survey uncovered small business trends in several areas, including:
“What Paperless Office?”
Ten years after the “Paperless Office Revolution,” half of all small businesses are still using paper files.
— Nearly half (48%) of small businesses still use paper file folders to
organize important non-financial information.
— 30% of small businesses still use paper-based system to store and
manage customer-related information.
“Information Overload Is Slowing Productivity”
Small businesses are concerned about finding business information and the accuracy of that information.
— Of small businesses that use spreadsheet software to organize
non-financial information, 47 percent are concerned their employees
are spending too much time looking for specific information.
— 42 percent of small businesses are concerned about the “ability of
their employees to access accurate information.”
— Employees at 52 percent of small business do not have any access to
business information when they are out of the office.
“Small businesses are not using technology productively for marketing and sales”
Small businesses aren’t effectively using technology for marketing. And yet, small businesses now have affordable access to the same technology corporations use to automate many marketing and sales activities.
— Nearly 44 percent of small businesses spend little-to-no time on
sales and marketing.
— And yet 45 percent of small businesses agree or strongly agree that
their business would “grow significantly” if they could automate more
of their marketing activities.
— Only 18 percent of small businesses use email marketing.
— 49 percent of small businesses are not even considering doing email
campaigns to their customers and prospective customers.
— 27 percent of small businesses say they will not be using the web for
some of the marketing and sales.
— Only 33 percent of small business managers think their Web site is
important to business. 21 percent don’t think it’s important.
Small Businesses Sees Technology Use as an Opportunity for Growth
— 49% say business would grow if I could automate…
— 31% will be spending more on tech in 2006 versus only 14% who will
spend less (46% will spend the same)
— 33% see their company’s website as MORE important to business success
in 2006 compared to 2005. Only 21% see the website as less
— While only 18% are doing email campaigns today, 32% more are
currently looking to add this capability in the future