SMBs Plan to Up Tech Spending in '08

By Karen Schwartz  |  Posted 01-08-2008

Uncertain economy be damned—most SMBs are looking forward to implementing an array of technology in the coming year.

That was the general consensus found by AllBusiness.com's end-of-year SMB State of the Union Study. The study, commissioned by AllBusiness.com and executed by Frank N. Magid Associates, did identify the falling dollar as a concern, but 73 percent of SMB leaders considered themselves optimistic going into 2008, and 60 percent planned to increase their technology investment.

One finding that stands out: Nearly three-quarters of companies with less than 500 employees considered search engines the top and best source of information to help them run their companies.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents at least occasionally use Web sites dedicated to business information such as Hoover's and AllBusiness.com, while 55 percent at least occasionally consult vendor or supplier sites. What's more, search engine users persist until they find what they are looking for, and three out of five distinguish between organic and sponsored results, the study found. And half of those using search engines tend to combine results with other sources, while a comparable number find the search engine results to be sufficient.

Despite the hype, the study found that neither social networking sites nor business blogs have caught on in a big way with smaller companies. According to the study, 69 percent rarely or never use social networking sites like LinkedIn, and 56 percent rarely or never use business blogs.

Along with the SMB State of the Union Study, AllBusiness.com published its SMB Barometer, which measures overall SMB health by measuring technology investment, business outlook, staffing plans, business real estate trends and business branch plans. The fact that the barometer reading hasn't moved since the fourth quarter of 2006 means that there is cause for optimism, noted Kathy Yates, CEO of AllBusiness.com.

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