“Where would we be without technology?” You’ve probably heard it asked a thousand times, followed by any number of answers that mean the same thing: “nowhere.”
But the real answer might be: “bankrupt.”
A new survey by AT&T and the nonprofit Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council found that millions of small businesses are saving a collective $67.5 billion dollars per year by using mobile apps, tablets and smartphones in their day-to-day business activities.
Breaking it down, the poll found that smartphones are saving business owners the most time (1.24 billion hours) and money ($32.3 billion) annually. Tablets (saving 754.2 million hours and $19.6 billion a year) and mobile apps (saving 599.5 million hours and $15.6 billion a year) are also providing small businesses with more time.
That extra time, however, isn’t being used for relaxation. Business owners indicate that they are re-investing that time back into their businesses to grow sales, increase engagement with customers, and research their respective industries to learn about new trends or competitors.
"Clearly, we are at a point where entrepreneurs now look first to communications technologies and innovations for solutions to improve productivity, cut costs and better manage and engage with customers," said SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan. "That is time and money that can go back into driving sales and innovating in the marketplace."
Ninety-four percent of small businesses now use smartphones to conduct business, up from 85 percent last year. More than half of say they use mobile applications, with the vast majority of those (91 percent) saying it helps them save time, and two-thirds saying it saves them money. The majority of those businesses estimate they are saving up to $500 a month – or $6,000 per year – by using mobile apps.
The survey also found that the average number of days small business employees are using smartphones to conduct business exceeds the average number of days they are open for business. While small businesses are open an average of 5.7 days per a week, nearly half (49 percent) of small business owners with smartphones are using them to conduct some business activities seven days a week.
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