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July 15, 2015

By Mitchell Hall for America's Backbone Weekly

Small & Medium Business Cloud Computing Projections

Forbes Magazine has a roundup of small and medium business cloud computing forecasts, showing that by 2020, 78% of small businesses are estimated to fully adopt cloud computing?more than double the 37% today. Intuit research shows they are primarily using cloud applications for back office work such as bookkeeping and accounting, while 43% are using a smartphone as the primary device to run their business.

About 18% of small and medium businesses with less than 100 employees are currently using hybrid cloud solutions, a number projected to rise to 28% by the end of this year according to Techaisle LLC.

Of SMBs using cloud services, 82% have saved on costs and 59% enjoy significant productivity benefits. Of those not using the cloud, only 30% report productivity benefits from IT.

The most popular cloud apps that SMBs are looking to implement in the next 12 months are e-mail/collaboration software (63%), Web/e-commerce (55%), and office tools & productivity (56%).

Small Firms Lagging Big Business in "Two-Speed Recovery"

The Wall Street Journal reports the lag in recovery since the recession has been much worse than previous economic downturns, and is even worse for small and medium businesses than large firms, according to new research from Goldman Sachs.

Large businesses have generally performed well post-crisis, but small firm business formation has declined, leading the Journal to term it a "two-speed economy."

According to the paper by Goldman's Global Investment Research group, "The recovery felt by large firms and the people who work for them is very different from the recovery felt by small firms and the people who work for them."

They argue this is largely because of new banking regulations designed to strengthen the financial system, which have increased the cost and availability of credit for smaller businesses.

"While perhaps not on a rule-by-rule basis, in the aggregate the cumulative effects of post-crisis regulations appear to have had a negative impact on the relative competitiveness of small businesses, reshaping the U.S. economyand likely in ways that were unintended," say the paper's authors.

More Women Owning Small BusinessesThe Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) has a report showing the amount of women owning small businesses is now 29%, up from 26% in 1997, according to The Atlantic. Women-owned firms have grown 68 percent since 2007, compared with 47 percent for all businesses.

The amount of minority women owning a business has multiplied by 265% since 1997, making up one in three female-owned businesses now, compared to one in six in 1997.

Black and Hispanic women now make up roughly 14% and 11% respectively of all women-owned businesses

However, female business owners still only make about 25 cents for every dollar a male makes, compared to about 83 cents to the dollar in the overall labor market.

Customer focus powers small business growth

Salesforce and Bredin Business Information surveyed over 300 small business principles (made up of a representative distribution of companies and industries across the U.S.), finding that "customer satisfaction" was their number one marketing metric.

SMB leaders listed their number one sales challenge as the need to "help solve business problems" and "measure value based on outcomes"?not price.

The businesses surveyed see an average of roughly 30% of sales from field sales, 17% from physical stores, and 12% each from e-commerce, partners and distributors. Most businesses expected no significant increase in sales over the next 12-18 months coming from online marketplaces such as Amazon or Google, email, or connected devices.


Despite the amount of people accessing the Internet using mobile devices surpassing desktop internet access last year, between 35% and 40% of SMBs surveyed don't plan to use mobile marketing tactics such as apps, location-based mobile tracking, push notifications, or text messaging over the next 12 months.

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Mitchell Hall, originally from New Zealand, is a senior editorat Studio One. Covering business and technology since 2006, he has worked atMinyanville, Emerging Money and since moving to New York, writing formany more publications both online and in print.

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