NEW YORK, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Portfolio.com, the national business news site for small and mid-sized business (SMB) executives, today revealed results from a study conducted by American City Business Journals (ACBJ) illustrating how SMB are increasingly leveraging wireless devices like smartphones and PDAs to work effectively outside the office anytime, anywhere. Aside from wireless devices, they're also using company web sites, technology services and payroll services to help them manage their business while on-the-go. Resulting from the increasing amount of time spent out of the offices for business purposes, there is also a rise in business travel among these SMB owners.
"Business technology has been developing at a rapid pace over the past decade. Many SMB owners are taking advantage of the benefits that mobile and wireless technology offer for their day-to-day business operations, as well as personal use," said Godfrey Phillips, Vice President for Research at ACBJ. "In the next three years, wireless devices are expected to become even more critical to these SMB owners because they allow the freedom to work outside of the office."
*SMB Owners' Preferred Airline, Hotel and Wireless Device Brands
The study also found that the degree of business travel and the time spent out of the office has increased. In 2007, 24 percent of SMB owners traveled more than once per month. Three years later, that figure has jumped to 31 percent. The percentage of time spent out of the office has also increased by 3 percent, from 24 percent of SMB owners in 2007 to 27 percent in 2010. Complimentary to that trend, travel expenditures on airfare, car rental and hotels and motels is on the rise. It is expected that there will be an almost 10 percent increase in business travel spending per firm compared to spending last year.
Among SMB owners, BlackBerry is the preferred choice for mobile devices, Southwest for airlines and Marriott for hotel stays.
Preferred Brands by SMB Owners
"Marriott is known more as a business hotel and has always scored well with business executives, especially with the appropriate prices and affordable comfort that the chain provides to its customers," said Phillips. "SMB owners need a wireless device that is e-mail reliable and provides access to the Internet. The BlackBerry is used as a business tool and we found that they trust this specific BlackBerry brand, and over time, they have grown loyal to it. Southwest is an entrepreneurial, good value brand, so it came to no surprise when this airline brand was preferred by SMB owners."
*Mobile Professionals + Techno Advocates: Real Advocates of Wireless Technology
This study was conducted with 1,762 business owners, CEO's and presidents of companies with between five and 499 employees. Based on these SMB owners who find wireless services and applications to be extremely or very important, the segments were broken into those who work out of the office 30 percent or more, and those who work out of the office less than 30 percent. Those who work out of the office a great deal of time were characterized as "Mobile Professionals" and the business owners who aren't working outside of the office as much are "Techno Advocates."
Mobile professionals have the highest sales, the biggest sales growth, and the most interest in international business. They are using wireless and mobile technology such as text messages, GPS, PDA's and notebook computers to aid their on-the-go dealings. Techno Advocates run larger, older companies and do more national business. They leverage the growing wireless and mobile technology to facilitate general business such as using company web sites, technology services and payroll services.
"Mobile Professionals are the people who walk the walk and talk the talk – they not only see wireless as an important technology, but they're also virtual warriors, with so many of them working outside of the office. The number of Mobile Professionals and Techno Advocates has grown considerably in the last three years, where currently 25 percent of SMB owners account for Mobile Professionals and 34 percent account for Techno Advocates," Philips said. "Mobile Professionals and Techno Advocates merit considerable attention from marketers and need different message and benefits, given their highly distinct and differentiated profiles."
Portfolio.com began disclosing exclusive results and trends from various studies to the public for the first time this year, starting with its annual "SMB Insights: The Business of Brands" in March. Just last month, Portfolio.com revealed how SMB owners are using the Internet to improve their businesses and prior to that, shifting investment trends were identified among the one-third of these business owners who rank among the "mass affluent."
Portfolio.com is the national business news site for small and mid-sized business executives. Comprising original, in-depth reporting, thought-provoking insights, colorful features, exclusive analysis of custom research, and an intelligent business-news filtering tool, Portfolio.com is the first national business media outlet dedicated solely to delivering actionable news and information to this coveted audience. Portfolio.com relaunched in December 2009 as the information destination for business executives, insiders and strategists within the growing and profitable American City Business Journals.
About American City Business Journals
American City Business Journals engages 13.5 million decision makers each month through the company's 40 newsweeklies, 42 Web sites, digital newsletters and more than 400 local events across the country. It is the largest publisher of business-to-business information in the United States. More than 4 million readers each week engage with exclusive, in-depth coverage of local business communities; some 9 million unique monthly users engage with the company's digital content; more than 11 million e-newsletters are delivered each month via email; and the company sees more than 1 million mobile page views each month. American City is a unit of Advance Publications Inc., which also operates Conde Nast Magazines, Parade magazine, Fairchild Publications, the Golf Digest companies, Newhouse Newspapers and cable television interests.