Tech Thursday Roundup – March 24, 2011

Sage Finds Small Businesses Optimistic, But Wary About The Future
Small Businesses Collaborate In Style with Dell’s New Vostro 3000 Series
AT&T Survey: Mobile Apps Integral to Small Business Operations, Remote Workers on the Rise
More than a Million US Small Businesses Will Launch by 2017

Sage Finds Small Businesses Optimistic, But Wary About The Future

Sage today announced the wrap-up of its Sage Peachtree listening tour, which visited with small business clients in 4 cities: New York, Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta, from December 2010 through February 2011. Anecdotal feedback from small businesses during these visits over the past few months further supports Sage’s recent survey findings suggesting that small businesses are cautiously optimistic about their prospects for 2011.

“What we found was that many small businesses are grappling with similar concerns, which echo those we identified in our recent accountants survey and the Sage Global Business Index survey,” said Jennifer Warawa, senior director, partner programs, Sage. “The top concerns voiced by our attendees were running their businesses on reduced staff, dealing with rising costs and regulatory issues, attracting and keeping new customers, waiting for consumers to start spending again, and finding ways to retain skilled employees. On a brighter note, attendees indicated that while the construction and real estate sectors have taken a serious beating over the past couple of years, the real estate market is slowly coming back, and non-profits are regaining some momentum. While they are cautious, many small businesses are hoping that things will continue to improve in 2011.”

These anecdotal results further reinforce the recent Sage Business Index survey conducted in late 2010, in which 46% of those small businesses surveyed believe the U.S. economy is on the mend. At the same time, only 36% have greater confidence in their prospects for improved business. Survey respondents said reduction of bureaucracy (56%), business taxes (48%), and the national debt (48%) should be priorities to help small businesses. They also noted challenges in rising costs, maintaining or growing revenue, and gaining new customers as concerns for 2011.

See the full SAN membership survey results here and the Sage Business Index here.

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Small Businesses Collaborate In Style with Dell’s New Vostro 3000 Series

Dell recently unveiled its Vostro 3000 series laptops with 12 hours of battery lifei on select models and cutting-edge virtual collaboration solutions.

Available in 13-, 14-, 15- and 17-inch forms and styled with image-conscious entrepreneurs and mobile professionals in mind, the Dell Vostro 3000 Series packs the latest Intel® 2nd generation Core™ I Series processors into a sleek design without compromising battery life. For those that demand the ultimate in collaboration, the Vostro 3000 is the first small-business laptop to feature voice enhancing technology SRS Premium Voice Pro software. A full HD webcam offered with the 14-, 15- and 17-inch laptops enables lifelike interactions with coworkers and customers, while a digital array mic helps reduce ambient noise, giving small businesses a superb virtual collaboration solution that’s fast and clear.

The new Vostro 3000 laptops offer the following:

  • Stylish and durable: A chiclet keyboard, durable aluminum finish and choice of three premium colors
  • Enhanced collaboration: Pre-installed Skype and the ability to launch any VoIP or video conferencing application via one customizable dashboard button
  • Top-notch security options: Back up your business data 10 times faster with super speed USB 3.0, standard built-in finger-print reader and Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security
  • Increased productivity: Intel® 2nd generation Core™ I Series processors, switchable graphics, DDR3, USB 3.0, BT 3.0
  • ProSupport to Simplify IT: Businesses can choose their own level of 24×7 IT support with optional Dell ProSupport services

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AT&T Survey: Mobile Apps Integral to Small Business Operations, Remote Workers on the Rise

Small businesses are increasingly reliant on mobile applications, Facebook pages for their companies, and employees working remotely via wireless technologies, according to the AT&T* Small Business Technology Poll. More specifically, the national survey of small businesses with two to 50 employees revealed that:

  • Nearly three-fourths (72%) indicate they use mobile apps in their business, with roughly four in ten (38%) reporting they could not survive – or it would be a major challenge to survive – without mobile apps
  • 41% of small businesses surveyed have a Facebook page for their business, representing a 52% jump from last year
  • Four in ten (40%) small businesses report all their employees use wireless devices or wireless technologies to work away from the office, a 66% jump over the past two years.
  • One-third (33%) of small businesses indicate they are using cloud-based or software as a service solutions, while another one-third acknowledged they do not know what is meant by these technologies

Click here for more information and additional results from the AT&T Small Business Technology Poll.

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More than a Million US Small Businesses Will Launch by 2017

The Deluxe Foundation, the grant-giving arm of Deluxe Corp. that has awarded $90 million to education, arts and human service programs since 1952, announced its partnership with SCORE, a non-profit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping U.S. small businesses.

The partnership will help launch more than one million small businesses by 2017. Deluxe will help SCORE recruit, train and educate 11,000 mentors over the next three years to counsel and help aspiring entrepreneurs. The grant will focus on increasing SCORE’s mentor base, grow trained volunteers by 50 percent and/or recruit 11,000 additional volunteers to mentor and advise the growing U.S. small business market.

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About Laura Leites

Laura plans and manages Smallbiztechnology's live and virtual events, including the five-city Small Business Technology Tour, now in its third year. She also produces events for clients through her event planning company, L2 Event Production. Her popular roundups of events and competitions for small businesses is published weekly on Smallbiztechnology.com and Small Business Trends.