Mobile Technology Helping Small-Business Owners: Sage

Small-business owners are turning to mobile technology to cope with longer, more intense work schedules, a Sage survey suggests.

Mobile solutions and tools are helping small-business owners cope with longer working hours and extended workweeks, according to a survey by business management software and services specialist Sage. The study of 258 U.S. small businesses found 78 percent of respondents use mobile devices to do work-related tasks when away from their desks or work computers, with laptops or notebooks (89 percent), smartphones (84 percent) and tablets (38 percent) being the most popular devices.

A vast majority of small-business owners said implementing mobile technology has improved their business, with access to email (96 percent) and keeping in touch with contacts and schedules (77 percent) as the two most frequently cited ways they are using mobility to help run their companies. That was followed by viewing or editing documents (69 percent), text messaging (64 percent) and banking management (53 percent).

Owners are also letting employees use mobile devices to boost productivity, although with 61 percent of those businesses supplying the devices themselves, it suggests the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend still has a way to go in the small-business segment. However, 68 percent of businesses surveyed said their employees use mobile devices to work remotely, using smartphones and tablets to email (89 percent), send text messages (63 percent), maintain contacts and schedules (62 percent), perform sales and marketing functions (41 percent) and access file storage remotely (33 percent).

€œ[Small-business] owners have not only had to reinvent their business model during the past five years, but have also made significant personal sacrifices to keep their operations afloat,€ Connie Certusi, executive vice president and general manager, small-business accounting solutions of Sage North America, said in a prepared statement. Overall, small-business owners are taking fewer vacations and spending way more time running their businesses, the survey found, with 42 percent of small-business owners working more hours per week than they were five years ago, and 40 percent of respondents saying they take €œsignificantly or somewhat less€ vacation time than five years ago. On top of that, 72 percent said they work more weekends and longer days.

No wonder small-business owners are stressed out: A recent survey by Bank of America found managing the ongoing success of their business creates more stress for small-business owners than any other aspect of their lives. In addition, the survey found small-business owners regularly forgo free time (57 percent), exercise (37 percent) and other personal priorities in order to manage their businesses.