Senior Vice President, C_TEC, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
November 03, 2022
In October, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Technology Engagement (C_TEC) hosted an event with the Greater Houston Partnership focusing on the impact of technology on small business and government. The event, TecNation 2022: How Technology is Powering the U.S. Economy, brought together business leaders, policy makers, and small business owners to evaluate their use of technology and the impact it’s having on their work.
Greater reach at a lower cost
The small business owners at our event made one thing abundantly clear to me when speaking with them. Technology serves as a force multiplier in their efforts to reach new customers and grow their business.
“I could never advertise in the old ways with T.V. or newspaper,” said Ramon Sorriano, owner of La Calle Tacos. “You know the money doesn’t go there. And I would be paying to be exposed to people that don’t care about my product so being able to really target the person that really wants to know about my product makes a world of difference and it makes my advertising dollar go way beyond.”
Brian Spears of Baby Chick, a pregnancy to motherhood resource guide, agreed. “It allows us to amplify that content across all of our users,” Brian said. “And beyond, we get about a million users to our website a month to be able to reach even beyond those people is a massive help.”
A lifeline for communities
Beyond the impact of introducing their products and services to new customers, our small business panel agreed that technology allowed them to adapt when facing turbulent business conditions.
Mario Amaro, the owner of Ease, a technology platform that assists independent physicians in opening practices said technology is changing communities across America. Now, through technology, independent practitioners can better serve communities underserved through traditional healthcare providers. “How we think about enabling clinicians to be independent is changing the concept of what is a practice and how you access it,” Mario said.
Similarly, Ramon recounted that in flooding following a tropical storm in 2019, technology allowed his restaurant to partner with other businesses to provide relief for first responders and his community by matching resources to capabilities for food production.
What the data tells us
Panelists and attendees at TechNation 2022 were largely in agreement about the benefits of technology to their businesses. Their testimonies match what the U.S. Chamber found in its recent report, Empowering Small Business: The Impact of Technology on U.S. Small Businesses
Our report found that small businesses are nearly universal in their adoption of a wide range of technology platforms.
More than 9-in-10 small business owners in the U.S. report using at least one type of technology platform in the running of their business. The most prevalent use of technology across American small businesses is the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that are used by two-in-three small businesses (66%). This is followed by the use of accounting software applications used by 56% of small businesses, and marketing platforms that are used by 41% of small businesses.
Since 2020 small businesses that incorporate technology platforms are more likely to see growth in their sales, profits, and employment.
What this means for policymakers
The upshot of what small businesses are telling us about the use of technology to grow their businesses is that without the right policies in place, small businesses could lose their ability to adapt and confront the new challenges of the 21st century economy.
Read more about our policy recommendations at https://americaninnovators.com/empowering-small-business/