(StatePoint) A new survey of small business executives reveals key insights of what it takes to stay competitive today -- and technology and attracting top talent are crucial.
The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll and sponsored by CIT Group Inc. (NYSE:CIT), explores the intersection of technology and talent to identify small business executives’ top priorities for investment and growth.
Among those surveyed, 37% plan to invest even more in their businesses during the next 12 months compared to the past 12 months, and of those planning to invest, cloud computing systems, customer relationship management tools and cyber security/data privacy are key priorities.
“Understanding these key insights and trends can help small businesses maintain a competitive edge and also drive growth,” says Ken Martin managing director of CIT’s Small Business Solutions unit, which offers lending options that give small businesses the financial agility needed to adopt advanced technology-enabled solutions.
The survey also revealed that earlier technology investments have already paid off for small businesses, with more than 40% crediting tech spending as a top driver of growth over the past 12 months. Additionally, 84% of survey respondents agreed that continuous technological investment is a business need. 79% agree that it’s critical in helping to attract and retain customers.
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At the same time, small business leaders recognize that their workforce will play a major role in implementing technology investments and addressing the risks that may come with them. While 82% of survey respondents say their current workforce is tech-savvy enough to keep up with the pace of digital transformation, 69% also say they focus on hiring tech-savvy employees.
“Technology is only as effective as the employees that implement it and the customers that benefit from it,” says Denise Menelly, CIT executive vice president and head of Technology and Operations, “Our own successful integration of technology and talent has been instrumental in empowering both our clients and employees.”
Cybersecurity and data privacy are top of mind for small business executives, as 56% say that the risk of security or data breaches are among the top concerns when it comes to technological changes. Other concerns include not knowing how new technology will work with current tools or systems and not having enough capital to invest in the latest technology.
Less than a third of small business executives are currently outsourcing financial aspects of their business, such as payroll, credit protection, talent acquisition and accounts receivables management. However, as companies add more employees, it’s more likely that they’ll consider outsourcing these various services.