Canadian micro-businesses need mobile technology to grow

Majority of micro-businesses (70%) could not operate or start their business without wireless technology
Rogers to host Small Business Month events across Canada for businesses to connect with tech experts

TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - What do a home-based crafter, car mechanic and food truck owner have in common? They represent a thriving economic segment in Canada called the 'micro-business' -  companies with up to five employees. With fewer resources and little man-power, micro-businesses rely on basic technology, but according to a new research report released today by Rogers Communications and conducted by Environics, there is a gap between the technology these businesses know will improve their operations, and what they're actually using today.

"Accessing the right mix of technology including cloud services, e-commerce sites, mobile apps and mobile payments solutions can help new and existing micro-businesses start-up, save money and scale to thousands of customers overnight," said Tracy Markwood, Vice-President of Enterprise Marketing at Rogers. "Our research shows that small businesses understand the benefits of these technologies but most are hesitant to adopt them – which makes it essential for small businesses to work with the right technology partner."

Today, the micro-business sector makes up more than 55 per cent of small businesses in Canada and has grown by 40 per cent in the last decade1. The Rogers study revealed that while most of these business owners (82%) use mobile devices and applications to support their operations, very few have embraced cloud-based software (20%), social media (16%) or mobile payments (4%). These newer technologies present businesses with numerous opportunities to improve efficiencies, reach target markets, and successfully grow. In fact, small businesses that adopt this technology are six times more likely to have overseas customers and 24 times more likely to expand within 5 years.2

Survey results show micro-businesses see utility in mobile tech:  

  • Over half (52%), agree that using mobile technology alleviates stress from their work week
  • The majority of respondents (70%) said they would have challenges operating or even starting their business without access to wireless technology
  • 90% of micro-businesses say mobile technology allows them to balance responsibilities at work
  • Staying connected and working from anywhere were cited as top two reasons to use mobile technology
  • Over 50 per cent of microbusiness owners use applications such as banking, team collaboration or scheduling apps to support operations

However, fewer micro-businesses have embraced new mobile technologies:

  • Only 20% use cloud-based software and applications like Drop Box or Office 365 to share files and documents
  • Only 4% are using mobile point-of-sale applications to process payments.
  • Only 22% are using an online store or website as primary means to sell products or services.
  • Only 16% of respondents use social media as the primary means to promote their business.

"Canadian small and micro-business owners are becoming more diverse and educated while embracing new ways of operating and marketing to customers" says Becky Reuber, Professor of Strategic Management, University of Toronto. "As innovative entrepreneurs continue to enter the market, existing businesses will be challenged to maintain their customer base and effectively compete. Being nimble, remaining opportunistic and gaining new insights to make smart, deliberate choices can make all the difference."

October is Small Business Month in Canada and to help businesses gain new insights and make smarter technology choices, Rogers is bringing its annual event series called Rogers Talks™ to thousands of businesses across Canada. Micro and small businesses will have the opportunity to hear from experts in social media, marketing and networking and how technology can create a competitive advantage in their business. Events will take place in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver from October 29th to November 13th, and each one is open to any small business owner or employee.

To register, visit rogers.com/rogerstalks.  

About the survey
Environics Research Group designed and conducted a nationwide telephone survey of 200 Canadian Micro-businesses in the summer of 2014. The sample was designed to be representative of the Canadian micro-business populace according to the 2011 Canadian Census. The margin of error is plus or minus 6.9 percentage points (at the 95% confidence level). The sample included representation across regions, urban vs. rural, number of employees and by industry.

About Rogers Communications
Rogers Communications is a leading diversified public Canadian communications and media company. We are Canada's largest provider of wireless communications services and one of Canada's leading providers of cable television, high-speed Internet and telephony services to consumers and businesses. Through Rogers Media, we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines and trade publications, sports entertainment, and digital media. We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI).  For further information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit rogers.com.

1Stats Canada 2013
2Stats Canada 2012

SOURCE: Rogers Communications Inc.

For further information: Lauren Thomson, Rogers Communications, Lauren.thomson@rci.rogers.com, 416-935-8685

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