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Tech and Small Biz: Attitudes and Uses

Tech and Small Biz: Attitudes and Uses. Andrew Langer Phoenix Center Retreat Presentation October 7, 2005. Areas of Focus. Who is NFIB? The Small Business Reality Paperwork and Technology Small Biz Computer Use Some General Policy Conclusions.

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Tech and Small Biz: Attitudes and Uses

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  1. Tech and Small Biz:Attitudes and Uses Andrew Langer Phoenix Center Retreat Presentation October 7, 2005

  2. Areas of Focus • Who is NFIB? • The Small Business Reality • Paperwork and Technology • Small Biz Computer Use • Some General Policy Conclusions

  3. Nation’s Largest Small Business Trade Association Great Breadth of Membership and Scope of Outreach Members Representing All Manner of Trades Average size is 5 Employees Who is NFIB? NFIB’s Constituents Provide 60% of New Jobs!

  4. Figuring Out What Needs to Be Done Sheer Amount of Paperwork Time Spent Filling Out Paperwork Environmental Concerns are of Paramount importance to our members. But not one reg in particular…. Member Regulatory Concerns Our Members See Regulation as “Death by a Thousand Pinpricks”

  5. An Appraisal of the Problem • The Current Regulatory Burden • Small Businesses Are Different Than Big Businesses

  6. The Current Regulatory Burden • Scope of Regulations Impacting Small Business Is Vast • Cannot Even Assess Number of Criminal Statutes on the Books • Costs Calculated by SBA’s Office of Advocacy as nearly $8,000 per employee PER YEAR!

  7. Small Businesses Are Different Than Big Businesses • Regulatory Costs Are Higher • Don’t Have the Personnel of larger firms • Don’t Have Access to State-of-The-Art Equipment • Cannot Readily Hire Expertise

  8. Electronic Assistance • E-Rulemaking • Business Compliance One-Stop Eliminating Paperwork is of Tremendous Import

  9. Constraints For Small Entities: Time And Energy NFIB Research Foundation Paperwork Survey • Conducted In 2003 • Survey of Small Business Owners Generally

  10. Findings • Owners Most Frequently Do Paperwork • Average Cost Per Hour is $48.72 • Most Use Both Computers and Paper for Recordkeeping and Filing • Computer Use is Growing, now at 92%

  11. Problems With Paperwork • Unclear and Confusing Instructions • Volume Itself • Duplicative Requests • Maintenance of Records • Requests for Non-Existent or Inaccessible Information

  12. Thus An Economic Problem • Already Spending Considerable Amounts of Time Doing Paperwork • Therefore An Opportunity Cost Situation Arises Which is where use of technology comes in…

  13. Use of Computers to Reduce Burden • 82% Have Internet Capabilities; • About half use it to find out regulatory information; • 57% of regular users have a high speed internet connection, mostly at home; • Smaller business more likely to use the internet to educate themselves; • Use it for specific searches and to sift through information;

  14. Use of the Internet Generally • 57% Use The Internet for Business-Related Purposes They use it to: • E-mail Customers and Suppliers • Gather information about the field

  15. Websites? • 2/3 of Businesses that use the internet have websites; • Income from Websites Generated Indirectly • Customers Are Driven From Web to More Traditional Sales (face to face or by phone) • Lifespan of Websites is approx. 2 years. • Negligible cost to the small business owner.

  16. High Speed Net Access • More Generally Found in Homes Rather than Businesses; • Most Common Access in Business is DSL; • Attitude Towards High Speed is Mixed; • Those Who Have It, Like It, but Few See Competitive Advantage to It;

  17. Other Tech Issues • Considerable Competition for Small Firms’ telecom biz; • 40% shopped for new local phone service in previous three years, 71% switched; • 78% Use a Cell Phone. 57% shopped for new service and 63% switched; Poor Service Biggest Issue for Cell Phones 70% of Owners Take Responsibility for Choosing Telecom Options

  18. Home Internet Access – Special Issues • Convenience Factor in Ability to Do Business-Related Work Away From Office; • Problems Created When Sharing Computer Among Family Members; • Creates Its Own Special Set of Security Problems Those Combatting Online Piracy Should Have Taken a Different Tack

  19. Conclusions… • Small Business Owners are like many other consumers in their tech use; • Cost and Service Conscious; • Don’t Want Access to Come at Taxpayer Expense; • Use Is Growing, But Some Business Owners Will Never Be On Web or Tech Savvy

  20. Thank You! Andrew M. Langer (202) 314-2032 Andrew.Langer@NFIB.org

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