Friday, December 23, 2005

Outlook 2006, Part 2

Four out of five small and mid-size business (SMB) leaders expect an improvement in business over the next six months. This same percentage plan to invest in technology for their business. These businesses provide approximately 75% of the new jobs added to the U.S. economy.

Here are a few findings from a survey of more than 1,000 SMB leaders:

  • 83% strongly agree that the Internet helps them run their companies
  • 22% currently make use of the Web as a marketing tool
  • 43% of non-Internet marketers plan to begin using the Web as a marketing tool over the next six months

"SMB leaders planning decreases in online activity are virtually non-existent," according to a representative of who commissioned the study. A press release of the first SMB State of the Union study is available for review.

In another study released earlier this year SMB owners were asked how they measured the success of their Website. Here are the responses:

  • customer and prospect comments (54%)
  • site activity, traffic and number of visitors (48%)
  • sales leads (36%)
  • online sales (24%)
  • efficiencies of internal processes, such as faster payment processing or fewer phone calls (21%)

A press release of Interland's Summer 2005 Small and Medium-sized Business Barometer is available for review.

Opportunities abound for Web developers to help SMB leaders grow their business. The results of these two studies indicate that business leaders are not looking for Web designers, they are looking for problem solvers who can help them market their business through the innovative use of Web-based technology. Here's a three-step strategy to consider:

  • download a graphical presentation (pdf) of the SMB State of the Union study
  • share this information with any current or prospective clients
  • open a dialogue to discuss how you can help the business owner measure the success of their Web efforts using the five criteria listed above
Small and mid-sized businesses have moved beyond "brochureware." Make a New Year's Resolution to continue to develop skills that will position you as a business partner who can help solve problems with the creative use of technology.