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Breaking Away

SMALL BUSINESSES ARE BECOMING more mobile as their workplaces extend beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar offices of the past, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Small Business Travelers Alliance (ASBTA), a national alliance that provides services focused on the travel needs of small business owners. This is good news for dealers targeting the small business segment with wireless services.




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The ASBTA Small Business Mobile Professional Survey shows that the future for small business is in the concept of the extended office, says ASBTA President Chuck Sharp. Wireless technology and wireless service providers have created an environment that enables small businesses to utilize many of the productivity-enhancing technologies that previously have only been available to large corporations.

Nearly 1,500 small business owners nationwide responded to the ASBTA Mobile Professional Survey, which was released in May.

A major theme in the survey results is that small business owners believe wireless technology is essential to their businesses. Most (80 percent) rely on wireless devices to stay connected to their businesses, while 67 percent believe wireless technology has significantly improved their communication abilities. More than a quarter (26 percent) said wireless was their primary means of communications.

More than half (55 percent) rely on a wireless laptop to check e-mails, and 66 percent believe a wireless laptop or PDA allows them to be more productive while out of the office. Perhaps most importantly, 35 percent believe laptop computers help them stay competitive with larger companies. In addition to laptop computers, survey respondents indicated that the wireless technology solutions playing a key role in small business success are mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs.

Small businesses also are more proficient with wireless technologies than in the past. According to the survey, 74 percent of small business owners and employees find using wireless technology easier today than one year ago, and 65 percent prefer a laptop computer over a desktop. Coverage and security, they report, remain their biggest challenges with wireless technologies, however.

Small businesses are, by their very nature, agile and flexible, but we all know that a traditional office environment is sometimes at cross-purposes with those expectations, says Sharp. The recent and dramatic improvements in laptop and wireless technology have made them the perfect answer to that sense of limitation, and small businesses appear to have grasped onto them enthusiastically.

Links
American Small Business Travelers Alliance (ASBTA) www.asbta.com

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