Warrillow Summit explores small-business issues

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Chicago—According to a survey by consulting firm Warrillow & Co., an “inertia gap” exists between small-business owners’ awareness of online business applications and their adoption of them.

The research, based on a survey of more than 1,000 small-business owners, was presented at the Warrillow Summit, which kicked off Monday to discuss strategies for targeting small- and medium-sized businesses.

Among the findings are the following: Sixty-four percent of small-business owners are aware that they can buy search terms, but only 9% are actually doing so; 92% are aware they can access business e-mail remotely, but only 43% are doing it; 59% are aware of the ability to use software as a service, but only 17% are doing it; 84% are aware of online customer service, but only 49% are doing it; and 97% are aware of the ability to pay bills online, but only 65% are doing it.

According to the survey, 6% of small businesses have not adopted any of the new business processes. “The inertia gap is significant,” said John Warrillow, president of Warrillow & Co., during the opening session. “If we could start moving the needle a little bit, we could have a significant impact on their businesses.”

Of those small businesses that have not adopted online business applications (“intractables”), the top reasons cited for not doing so were: They do not trust the Internet (37%); they are “mom-and-pop” shops (28%); they have no need for 24/7 access to information (21%); time and complexity (9%); and they prefer paper (5%). Among small-business owners that have adopted new online business processes (“convertibles”), the top reasons given for doing so were: need for remote access 24/7 (26%); saving time (25%); having a reporting dashboard (23%); saving money (13%); avoiding a call center (9%); and to fix a broken process (4%).

At the summit, Warrillow will present strategies for targeting small-business owners.

—Kate Maddox

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