Online Reviews, Mobile Technology Seen as Beneficial to Businesses

The report revealed nearly 40 percent of surveyed small business owners believe mobile technologies are having no effect on the value of their businesses.

mobile tech and smbs

Half of American business owners say smartphones, tablets and the overall availability of mobile information are raising their business value, compared to just 10 percent who say they are hurting values, according to a BizBuySell survey of more than 1,400 small business owners and potential buyers in the United States.

The remaining 40 percent say the mobile technologies have no effect on their business value.

Buyers are similarly bullish on mobile technologies, with 51 percent saying that mobile technologies raise value. Only 14 percent of buyers said they could hurt value.

Most small business owners said there is still great value in what they provide, but new competition, specifically from disruptive technology platforms like Uber, Airbrb and even Amazon, is affecting small business values.

The report revealed nearly 40 percent of surveyed small business owners believe these new technologies are affecting the value of their business. When asked which non-financial aspect of their business is most important to maintain, 62 percent answered high customer satisfaction.

The survey also indicated younger business owners are more likely to realize the benefits of mobile technology.

"I would say there are three main challenges small businesses face when implementing mobile technology strategies: time, technology and money. Getting started in the mobile space requires some initial start-up time as well as a certain level of know-how," Bob House, group general manager of BizBuySell and BizQuest, told eWEEK. "While it can be difficult to keep up with the constantly changing technology and the many different mobile devices and their respective operating systems, small businesses must at least make sure their website is mobile friendly."

House said a website should load quickly and use a responsive design that automatically adjusts the layout and content of a webpage, depending on the type of device and size of the screen.

Just under three-quarters (74 percent) of owners aged 18-29 said the availability of mobile information raises small business values, compared to just 45 percent of owners 65 and older.

Nearly three out of four small business owners said that the tone of their online reviews would ultimately change the value of their business, some more significantly than others.

In addition, 41 percent said online reviews could raise or lower their business value by 5 to 10 percent.

Another 35 percent went a step further, saying online reviews could change a business' value by 10 to 20 percent.

However, just 27 percent of surveyed owners said they encouraged customers to post reviews; 25 percent attempted to fix poor reviews, and 24 percent promoted positive reviews though their website or social media.

Industries like auto repair shops and dry cleaning services also appear to be comfortable with their position in the market, as just 26 percent of auto shop owners and 23 percent of drycleaner owners said new technologies are affecting their business value.

A much higher overall percentage of buyers (89 percent compared to 75 percent of owners) said online review affect the value of a business, and 72 percent said online reviews are a good indication of products or services, compared to 58 percent of the owners.

"Small businesses should proactively monitor and manage their online reputation," House said. "Make an effort to respond to any negative reviews in a timely and courteous manner. This will show potential customers that you take complaints seriously and care about your customers’ experience."