More than one in three small business owners (36 percent) use three or more mobile devices to run their business, according to a survey commissioned by eVoice, a virtual phone number service for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), from j2 Global.
The survey revealed 40 percent of respondents prefer doing business on the iPhone, iPad or iPad mini, and texting is on the rise for small businesses, as 58 percent of respondents text for business at least once a month. Only 33 percent of survey respondents still listen to voicemail from business contacts, and just 18 percent of respondents will listen to voicemail from an unknown number.
"In an increasingly mobile work world, small businesses are finding themselves juggling multiple devices and maneuvering the grey area between their personal and professional lives," Mike Pugh, j2 global vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "With virtual phone systems, small businesses are able to stay connected no matter the device they're using and can do business anytime, anywhere while keeping personal contact information private."
According to the survey, 75 percent of respondents won't share their personal mobile phone number with staff, 81 percent with partners or investors and 82 percent with vendors, reinforcing small businesses owners' desire to filter their personal phone numbers for business contacts. The results also revealed women are 8 percent more likely than men to share their personal mobile phone number.
Small business that use mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and notebooks feel that they have had a positive effect on their companies' productivity, according to a recent Sage North America survey of 490 U.S.-based SMBs. Just 1 percent of businesses using mobile devices felt it had a negative impact on the company's productivity, compared with 85 percent of respondents who said the technology had a positive impact on their business.
According to the 2013 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll also released in March, mobile devices are not only popular among small businesses, but also essential to their success. The survey of 1,000 small businesses nationwide found 98 percent of respondents use some form of wireless technologies in their operations, and two-thirds (66 percent) of small businesses polled indicate that they could not survive—or it would be a major challenge to survive—without it.
It’s not just a growing trend among small businesses—the explosion of mobile devices is a worldwide phenomenon. A recent Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast update projects that by the end of this year, there will be more mobile-connected devices than there are people on Earth, and by 2017 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita.