Small businesses plan to cut costs in FY14, spend on mobile technology

Start-ups and small business owners are focusing on decreasing their costs but also planning on investing in technology, especially mobile, in the new financial year, according to new research.


The Telstra Small Business Monitor surveyed 1000 small business owners about their spending plans for the next financial year.


Most business owners, 80% of those surveyed, said decreasing their spending would be their number one priority.


The areas where spending was most likely to be reined in were travel costs (17%), office expenses (14%) and training (14%).


The largest expenses reported by the survey respondents varied, but the leading ones were tax (38%), payroll (30%), rent (26%) and utilities (25%).


John Boniciolli, Telstra’s executive director of small business sales and service, told StartupSmart that smart tech choices would cut costs and boost productivity.


“The rise of mobile broadband, coupled with pocket-sized technology, like smartphones and tablets, has changed the way Australian small businesses do business,” he says.


“When you add cloud-based solutions and mobile apps to the mix, small businesses have an affordable way to access the best technology tools and support, which were previously only accessible to larger enterprises.”


While 61% of respondents said new technology was a priority, 80% said they weren’t using technology to increase staff productivity.


Boniciolli said switching technology investment from desktop computers to tablets or laptops would increase productivity.


“Our previous research has also shown that many small business owners work up to 20 hours per week away from their premises but are limited due to poor access to technology,” he says.


For the first time, the report revealed Australians are ranking smartphones as more important technology than laptops. When asked to rank technology by importance, the smartphone score of 69% was beaten only by desktop computers at 71%.


According to Boniciolli, cloud-based subscription services allow owners to scale their businesses up and down, and reduces the need for IT server support. He added that businesses need to develop a strategy for recovering or erasing data from lost or stolen devices.


“Mobility is no longer a preference for small businesses but rather a key requirement to remain competitive. Business owners need to ensure that they have the right business applications installed on their employees’ smartphones to really maximise the productivity benefits,” he says.


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