16 Jul To App or Not to App, is no longer the question
The use of mobile technology in the UK beyond the realm of making phone calls is growing, but the number of SME businesses creating mobile solutions is not – read more about the relationship between SME businesses and mobile technology,as well as why mobile technology matters for your business.
The Americans are doing it better
The 4th of July has recently past, another year for Americans to celebrate their Independence from the UK, and the advance of the American Dream. Below the surface, it’s a case of our cousins across the pond throwing a party to mark severing ties with us, and sneer about how much better life is now they’ve left home. In a reluctant concession to them, it’s true. Our counterparts across the pond are indeed doing better than us, especially on the business front: a recent study has revealed that over 60% of US SME business owners are now using mobile technology to enhance their business and services. Meanwhile in the UK those figures are far less advanced.
According to Constant Contact, around 60% of the UK SME Businesses surveyed are using mobile technology for internal business operations such accounting software to data storage, but the numbers drop once we begin to probe the critical area of communications and services – mobile marketing or websites that have been optimized for mobile use for example – with just 20% currently employing mobile solutions for their business. 59% of those surveyed did not believe that adopting mobile strategies where relevant to their business, whilst only 17% currently had sites that were optimized for smartphones and tablets.
But why does this matter?
It matters because technology closes the gap between the capabilities of small businesses and their larger counterparts. Software that would have been costly to purchase, install and maintain a few years ago is now far more accessible for businesses of all sizes. Alongside shrinking the monopoly of big players who can play ball the hardest in their business field, incorporating mobile solutions into business strategies also means that businesses can expand the services that they offer to their users and expanding their reach as they do so.
As far as accounting is concerned, it matters because this means accountants and accountancy firms can now offer their users and customers more, whilst making it easier and simpler from them to monitor finance and tax on the go: even HMRC have joined the bandwagon offering a range of apps to enable the public to keep abreast of their taxes, courteously pointing out to readers that app is short for “application”.
At this point it’s also worth noting the other findings from the study, which emphasis the fact that nearly 70% of UK smartphone users regularly use their phones for email, text messages, social networking and web-surfing: meaning that mobile phones are becoming an increasingly important avenue of information sharing and receiving – one that forward thinking businesses and service providers should aim to tap into.
What you going mobile can do for you
Employing mobile marketing solutions into your business will expand what you offer your customers, and bring you closer to them. According to one study, the average person looks at their phone at least 150 times a day: that’s 150 opportunities for you to engage with this person via apps, SMS messaging, social media messaging and email. If you are selling a product, then you can add a built in mobile point of sale option so that purchases can be made on the go- ensuring that you optimize your site also means that so long as you are providing great content and online communication, then your readers will remember to have a read of your site as they surf the web via mobile.
Apps and Websites
If marketing and increasing engagement are the aims of you taking your business online, then investing in an application might just be best for your business. You can personalize your accounting application to match your branding (it is also a plus for winning brownie points with clients as it places your firm in an innovative light) and makes interacting with your customer base and brand building easier. Optimising your site means that you’ll be tapping into the growing market of people surfing the web. Sage recently posted this this article about the benefits of apps and optimized websites which will be useful for more information about what might work better for your business.
Starting a career in accountancy, James McCaffrey now writes for Sage and topics relating to growing a business.