SCORE Survey Finds Increase in Small Business Tech Budgets for 2021
There’s no doubt that the year 2020 changed small businesses in a number of ways. Not only were many businesses impacted directly by temporary closures as well as physical accommodations in their stores but several also found themselves needing to invest in new technologies that would allow them to adjust to the changing landscape. On that note, a new survey from SCORE found that an overwhelming percentage of businesses updated at least some aspect of their operations last year.
According to SCORE’s survey, 90% of small businesses adopted some new form of digitization last year. The most common example is online checkout, which 95% of those who did implement new digital options utilized. That was followed closely by contactless delivery and pickup (93%). Meanwhile, several small businesses also changed their team dynamic using digital offerings, with 92% converting to digital team collaboration and virtual meetings.
As for how these new technologies have impacted their businesses, 37% of those who had embraced online checkout found it to be extremely valuable with another 40% saying the feature was moderately valuable. The responses for contactless delivery were nearly identical, although the “moderately valuable” response was slightly lower at 39%. Elsewhere, 47% of respondents said that recently-adopted software had increased productivity, while 45% said that software upgrades had improved customer engagement. More importantly, 45% reported increased sales and 42% cited reduced costs as benefits of new software integrations.
In addition to business owners converting many of their systems in 2020, many are also planning to increase their technology budgets for 2021. Specifically, 45% of respondents said they intended to spend more on tech needs this year. Meanwhile, another 37% say their budget will be in line with 2020’s.
Commenting on the survey results, SCORE CEO Bridget Weston stated, “Small businesses that adopted new software in 2020 saw an exponential increase in sales and customer satisfaction and 2021 will be no different. As technology continues to advance, SCORE mentors are standing by to ensure business owners have the guidance and support needed to successfully adapt and thrive.” Additionally, Software Advice Global VP Blake Clark underscores the importance of these new technologies, saying, “Now is the time for small businesses to digitize. Automating daily tasks, managing remote teams and staying engaged with customers are the types of advantages small and medium-sized businesses can experience in 2021 by identifying and adopting the right software.”
While the need for such tech upgrades to be made is never a welcome expense, the silver lining is that these investments may continue to help small businesses prosper in ways that weren’t previously made possible. That said, a big part of success with new technologies is utilizing them in a way that makes sense for your business. With that in mind, surely many small businesses across the nation will be testing and adjusting their updated operations as life hopefully returns to normal.