Small Businesses Optimistic, but Access to Cloud Will Be Key
Adding to the positive outlook, 62 percent of entrepreneurs are prioritizing customer growth, with 33 percent planning to invest in technology.Three out of four small-business owners in the United States are optimistic about growth in 2015, according to an online survey of 500 small-business owners conducted by accounting software specialist Xero. Adding to the positive outlook, 62 percent of the respondents are prioritizing customer growth, with 33 percent planning to invest in technology. Despite their hopes for growth, however, 80 percent of small-business owners said they have little need for new hires this year. Additionally, Xero executives expressed concerns about small businesses' cloud adoption. They said access to cloud software tailored for small businesses will be crucial, yet many small business owners remain unaware of cloud services. "The biggest challenge to small businesses is just having the knowledge of the capabilities of cloud-based technology and how it can extend and simplify their business," Amy Vetter, Xero's global vice president of education and enablement, told eWEEK. "In fact, one of the data points that we uncovered indicated that 18 percent of small-business owners didn't even know what the cloud was."
Cloud-based technology helps "streamline functions like accounting and payroll, decreasing the need to hire additional staff that would normally run those areas," Vetter said. "Also, a lot of the paperwork that's usually done after hours while people are out in the field can now be done in real time, which means more effective use of time and just better accuracy overall."