For small business owners looking for ways to make their day-to-day operations more efficient, there appears to be one trend growing too rapidly to ignore – mobile devices are taking over the workplace. Nearly everyone is using them in the office.
According to the Small Business Technology Poll recently released by AT&T, 98 percent of small businesses are using some form of wireless technologies in their offices. Phones are of course the most common – 85 percent of small businesses said smartphones played a role in their operations, more than double where that figure was five years ago (42 percent). Tablets see plenty of use as well – 69 percent of small businesses utilize them, as do 90 percent of larger companies with 51 to 99 employees.
If you ask Cathy Martine, executive vice president of small business solutions at AT&T, the wireless trend isn't going anywhere.
"For small businesses today, wireless solutions have become part of their DNA," Martine said. "With the ongoing growth of remote workforces and with virtual offices gaining in popularity, [mobile solutions] are becoming more important than ever in helping small businesses work better, smarter, and faster."
Money management through apps?
For many users, financial services can be dramatically improved through mobile. Mobile finance is quickly rising to prominence in the business world – according to eMarketer, mobile commerce skyrocketed in 2012, rising 82 percent to nearly $25 billion. Mobile sales are expected to increase 55.7 percent in 2013, and by year's end, they should account for 15 percent of all sales in America.
But it's not only financial services that have thrived due to the mobile revolution. AT&T found that 31 percent of small businesses were using mobile apps in order to save time, increase productivity and reduce costs – and they weren't just money apps, either. GPS navigation apps are preferred by 74 percent of mobile app users in workplaces, followed by location-based services (43 percent), document management (35 percent), social media marketing (32 percent), and mobile payments in the field (30 percent).
Mobile apps are here to stay – 47 percent of small businesses polled by AT&T said "it would be a major challenge to survive" without their apps. With dependence like that, we can safely assume that the mobile market will continue growing in America, and small business owners would be wise to climb aboard that bandwagon.