Small business owners are the world’s greatest multi-taskers so mobile should be making their jobs easier. But though nine out of ten owners say they use mobile devices for business, 58% say they need more than what’s out there.
The stats come from a survey called “Going Mobile: Small Business Owner Attitudes About Mobile Technology” which was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of New Bank of the West.
The overwhelming majority (76%) of users said they use their mobile devices for communication. After that, everything drops off to under 50% including those who use it for scheduling, driving directions, project management and payments.
Only 17% of small business owners said they use their mobile devices for customer payments but 31% saw potential to grow in this area. Money management of all kinds came in as the number one problem the owners wanted addressed and they weren’t happy with the current options.
What’s odd is that there are plenty of options for money management on smartphones and tablets. None of them are perfect, what app is, but they’re there. Every major bank has an app. Paypal, Quicken, Money, all have apps. As for consumer payments, several companies have swipe to pay gizmos that allow you to accept credit card payments on your mobile phone.
I say, it’s not the lack of options that are tripping up business owners, it’s the fact that there are too many options. Think about what’s involved in finding an app to handle a specific task, say invoicing clients. The iTunes search engine isn’t going to help, unless you know the exact name of the app you’re looking for, you’ll go mad before finding what you need that way. Your best option is to find a “Top 5″ list on a major tech site, but restrict your search to articles published in the last few months because new apps appear every day and old apps often land on the “never updated” pile.
There’s value in mobile. 83% of those surveyed said they’ve benefited, 65% said it was an important part of their current success and 74% said it would become important in the future. They say it helps them work more efficiently and that’s good for the bottom line.
The main reason owners aren’t using more mobile; “Few relevant uses for my business.”
Really? Can’t find a way to make mobile relevant? Hmm. . . while there are small businesses who don’t need a smartphone or tablet to get things done, these are mighty useful tools, if only they understood how to use them.
Maybe I should teach a class. Students, please open your iPhones to Pages and begin reading at the top. . .