Share This Article:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

 

Survey Says: It’s Getting Cloudy Out There
Entrepreneurs are adopting cloud computing at a much higher rate than big companies, according to a new survey.

 

By Rieva Lesonsky
AOL Small Business
May 31, 2011

These days, entrepreneurs have their heads in the clouds. But that’s actually a good thing. And they’re still plenty social, at least when it comes to their marketing. Here’s a closer look at some of the latest small-business surveys.

The Clouds are Headed East
Once again small businesses are leading the way — this time when it comes to storing data in the cloud. A new survey by Egnyte, a cloud solution provider, shows that entrepreneurs and small businesses comprise the largest faction of cloud users, although larger businesses are beginning to follow suit.

According to Egnyte, cloud use largely originated with entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Pacific Northwest, and usage is still concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area (31 percent of file operations), Seattle (19 percent) and Portland (19 percent). But now, cloud usage is spreading eastward. New York recently eclipsed Seattle and Portland as a “cloudy” city, with 23 percent of file operations originating there. Chicago and Canada’s use of the cloud has grown to 17 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in the last six months.

Small businesses (those with five or fewer employees) are still the most likely to access files in the cloud from mobile devices (39 percent). Companies employing more than 50 people came in second at 30 percent, and companies with 25 or fewer employees came in third at 28 percent. These numbers make sense to me — everyone at my small company relies on the cloud for daily business. I’m surprised more large companies haven’t yet taken the leap onto the cloud.

Social Doesn’t Edge Out E-mail
Small business owners are adding social media to their bag of marketing tricks — but it’s not the be-all and end-all of their marketing efforts, according to the Constant Contact Spring 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey. A good number (73 percent) of small-business owners are already using social media for marketing purposes, and 80 percent of those have increased their social media marketing engagement in the past 12 months. But social media hasn’t (yet) replaced traditional marketing methods such as advertising, e-mail or event marketing.

Specifically, e-mail is still a key marketing tool, used by 91 percent of small-business owners in this survey. It’s also crucial for business: Eighty percent of small-business owners say the first thing they do when they go online is check e-mail, compared to just 5 percent who first check Facebook. And nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of entrepreneurs say they check e-mail six or more times a day, compared to just 13 percent who say the same for Facebook and 4 percent for Twitter.

I hate to be such a conformist, but e-mail is the first thing I check when I go online. However (true confessions), I admit to checking both e-mail and Twitter far more than those surveyed.

Gas Bubbles
We just mentioned it recently, but gas prices continue to eat into consumer spending in many discretionary areas, reports BIG Research’s May Executive Briefing. More than 80 percent of survey respondents say their spending has already been affected by rising prices at the pump, up from 67.7 percent one year ago.

How will consumers deal with soaring gas prices? The majority (51.7 percent) say they’ll simply drive less, but 41.3 percent say they’ll put the brake on dining out, 38 percent will cut back on vacations or travel, 35 percent will spend less on clothing and 27.1 percent will postpone a major purchase.

Unless you own a gas station, this could be a cruel summer for your small business: Nearly three-fourths (74.2 percent) of consumers predict that gas prices will rise even higher as the summer season approaches — reaching an average of $4.25 per gallon. I live in Southern California, where paying only $4.25 a gallon is a fond memory.

Comments are closed.