Recession Refocuses Small-Biz Growth Strategies - InformationWeek

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8/12/2009
06:53 PM
Jim Manico
Jim Manico
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Recession Refocuses Small-Biz Growth Strategies

Five pages into a new report about post-recession growth strategies among small and midsize businesses and, lo and behold, the "t" world finally comes up.

Five pages into a new report about post-recession growth strategies among small and midsize businesses and, lo and behold, the "t" world finally comes up.Yes, I'm referring to technology and, specifically, the part SMBs believe it will play to help catapult them out of the "r" word. According to a Verio-sponsored, Economist Intelligence Unit-conducted global survey of 328 SMB execs (PDF), more than half (57%) expect technology to play a critical role in bringing their businesses out of the recession -- and nearly the same percentage expect that to happen by the end of this year or the middle of next.

Interestingly -- and smartly, I might add -- 51% of respondents say their technology efforts will focus on improving processes and new ways to improve their business, while only 20% plan to invest as a means to bypass competitors. Like a runner post-injury-related surgery, that tells me SMBs realize they first need to rehabilitate themselves before returning to thoughts of who'll they'll be racing against down the road.

In fact, that inward-type thinking aligns with SMBs' reported top business priorities for the next 12 months:

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"Nearly all SMBs, regardless of region or industry are focused on simply doing business better," said Laurel Delaney, president and founder of GlobeTrade.com, in a release that announced the survey. "It's clear that there are difficult challenges that still lie ahead, but SMBs are resilient and realize that technology plays a key role in helping them be more efficient and improve operations so they can survive in today's economy and thrive in the long term."

Yeah, yeah, we know. A few other tech-related top lines of note from the survey:

  • Mo' money: 39% of SMBs expect to see an increase in their companys information technology (IT) budget once the economy improves.

  • Insourcing assistance: 52% said internal IT departments will be most important in helping them improve their processes and uncover new ways of conducting business.

  • Third-party support: 35% ranked external technology consultants (systems integrators, value-added resellers or application developers) as most important in achieving their IT objectives.

  • Outsourcing options: 33% ranked outsourced IT services providers as most important in achieving their IT objectives.

Survey respondents were also asked about their biggest challenges to growth amid the broader economic landscape. Let me know how yours jibe:

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