Computer programs designed for smartphones and tablets save small businesses more than a billion hours and $17.6 billion a year, according to a new report from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.
The study, “Saving Time and Money with Mobile Apps: a Small Business ‘App’ortunity,” looks at the growth of cell phone and other mobile technologies and why small businesses are using mobile applications to solve key business challenges.
Nearly half of small businesses use smartphones compared to a fifth of the general consumer market. Owners and their employees are using mobile apps to squeeze more productivity from their work week, reducing overhead costs, increasing revenues and sales-related activities, improving competitiveness and even allowing firms to add jobs.
Chase Credit Card Services, which introduced its own mobile app called Jot on June 1, partnered with SBE Council on the study conducted by TechnoMetrica.
In a survey of owners of businesses with fewer than 20 employees, the most popular mobile apps are (click on chart for a larger view):
The big plus of mobile apps is saving time, says SBE Council President and CEO Karen Kerrigan, who co-authored the study. The apps save hours of administrative paperwork, extra driving trips and customer research, she said. Apps also give quick access to key documents, saving down time.
SBE Council Chief Economist Raymond Keating, said “Those hours saved, of course, translate into dollars saved. Small business employee hours are worth an estimated $17.6 billion each year, under conservative assumptions. If all small businesses were to take advantage of mobile apps…a projected 2.34 billion employee hours potentially saved are valued at $56.9 billion annually.”
Other study findings:
· 96% of survey respondents currently use wireless technologies in their businesses and 40% of their employees use wireless devices or technologies to work away from the office
· 50% of respondents are able to spend more time on growing business revenues due to their use of mobile apps
· 51% say their firms are more competitive
· 36% are able to reduce overhead costs
· 10% have been able to add workers because of mobile app usage
Owners overwhelmingly view the Internet as their “most valuable business tool,” and firms that are currently using mobile apps plan to significantly increase usage. The authors of the study conclude that rapid innovation and the dawn of the 4G network will accelerate adoption because of faster speeds, newer devices, and enhanced and more effective mobile apps.
“Currently, small businesses face significant challenges and uncertainties, including, for example, an under-performing recovery, rising business costs, the threat of inflation, and high energy costs,” Keating said. “But there always are benefits to be found in technological advancements that allow for reduced costs and the enhanced ability to compete. Mobile apps clearly provide such rewards.”
Click here to read the whole report: http://www.sbecouncil.org/uploads/Mobile%20APP%20Final%20Report%20SBE%20Council.pdf