Businesses Adopt Regional Survival Strategies, Survey Finds
A global survey finds cost-conscious businesses are adopting regional survival strategies to outlast the economic storm.A survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit found small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around the world expect the global economy to rebound by the end of 2009 (25 percent) or mid-2010 (34 percent) and a report detailing the results of the survey, Understanding Growth Priorities of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, noted that the top three growth challenges facing SMBs were reaching new customers, attracting and retaining talented employees, and access to cash flow. The survey was sponsored by SMB online business solutions provider Verio, Inc.
About 56 percent of respondents are actively acquiring customers through new means, such as entering new geographical markets. Fifty-four percent say their firms have increased their focus on their most profitable customers (this was the top response in Europe, at 50 percent), and roughly one-third report that their companies are varying the level of service depending on the quality of the customer.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents "agree" or "strongly agree" that technology will be critical in bringing their business out of the recession and 39 percent expect to see an increase in their company's information technology (IT) budget once the economy improves. Yet only 20 percent plan to invest more heavily in innovative technology as a means to outpace competitors, indicating that the importance of technology lies in its ability to support other, more strategic business initiatives. Indeed, 51 percent of respondents say their technology efforts will focus on improving processes and new ways to improve their business.
"Nearly all SMBs, regardless of region or industry are focused on simply doing business better," said GlobeTrade.com president and founder Laurel Delaney. "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."