How technology supports small businesses

In October, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Technology Engagement (C_TEC) hosted an event with the Greater Houston Partnership on the impact of technology on small businesses and governments. The TecNation 2022: How Technology is Powering the US Economy event brought together business leaders, policymakers and small business owners to assess their use of technology and the impact it is having on their jobs.

Greater reach at a lower cost

The small business owners at our event made one thing clear to me when I spoke to them. Technology serves as a force multiplier in their efforts to reach new customers and grow their business.

“I could never advertise the old way with TV or newspaper,” said Ramon Sorriano, owner of La Calle Tacos. “You know the money doesn’t go there. And I would pay to be exposed to people who aren’t interested in my product, so being able to really target the person who really wants to know about my product makes a huge difference and leaves my advertising budget way above that go out.”

Brian Spears of Baby Chic, a pregnancy and motherhood resource guide, agreed. “It allows us to extend this content to all of our users,” Brian said. “And on top of that, we bring about a million users to our site every month, so being able to reach even more people is a tremendous help.”

A lifeline for communities

Aside from the impact of introducing their products and services to new customers, our small business panel agreed that technology allowed them to adapt to turbulent business conditions.

Mario Amaro, the owner of Ease, a technology platform that helps independent physicians open practices, said the technology is transforming communities across America. Now, through technology, independent practitioners can better serve communities underserved by traditional healthcare providers. “How we’re thinking about allowing physicians to be independent is changing the concept of what a practice is and how you access it,” Mario said.

Similarly, Ramon shared that during flooding following a tropical storm in 2019, technology allowed his restaurant to work with other companies to relieve first responders and his community by matching resources with food production skills.

What the data tells us

TechNation 2022 panellists and attendees largely agreed on the benefits of technology for their organizations. Their testimonies agree with what the US Chamber found in its most recent report, Empowering Small Business: The Impact of Technology on U.S. Small Business

Results

Our report found that small businesses are adopting a wide range of technology platforms almost universally.

More than 9 in 10 small business owners in the US say they use at least one type of technology platform to run their business. The most prevalent use of technology in American small businesses is the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, used by two in three small businesses (66%). This is followed by usage of accounting software applications, used by 56% of small businesses, and marketing platforms, used by 41% of small businesses.

Since 2020, small businesses that integrate technology platforms are more likely to see revenue, profit and employment growth.

What does that mean for politics?

The upshot of what small businesses tell us about using technology to grow their business is that without the right policies, small businesses could lose their ability to adapt and meet the new challenges of the 21st century economy.

Read more about our policy recommendations at https://americaninnovators.com/empowering-small-business/

About the authors

Jordan Crenshaw

Jordan Crenshaw

Vice President, C_TEC, US Chamber of Commerce

Crenshaw is Vice President of the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC).

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