Is your small business behind the times?

Is your small business behind the times?Paper records, desk diaries, payment by cheque - despite the rise of the smartphone and online tools, many micro business owners are still using old-fashioned methods to manage their business.

Research by professional services marketplace Bidvine has found that, although 67% of the UK's micro businesses and sole traders use a smartphone for their business, 63% use pen and paper to manage their diary and almost a fifth rely on nothing more than their memory to ensure they know where to be from day to day.

Small firms and sole traders account for 99% of the UK's private sector businesses, but the survey found that 20% say they have lost money in the past month due to poor diary-keeping or communication; 86% of those polled still rely upon word of mouth as a new business channel.

Despite plans to phase out cheques by 2018, 44% of small firms are still accepting cheques; less than one quarter take web payments and just 6% accept mobile payments.

However, more than a third say their phone is extremely important or vital to their business and only 16% felt they could operate without it. The poll found that 52% communicate with customers by text and 65% by mobile call, compared to 50% who use a landline.

Sohrab Jahanbani, founder of Bidvine, said: "The research findings show that the majority of sole traders still value the importance of writing when it comes to diary-keeping and customer management. However there has been some progress towards the use of technology - despite still using the mighty pen, 78% do use email to communicate with their customers."

The research also highlights the transition that many small businesses are making from pen and paper to new technology.

John Griffin, who runs Unflatpack, said: "Our flatpack assembly business was started ten years ago out of an office in London with the help of a duplicate pad and paper-based payment system to process single orders. We now employ 100 people across the country and this growth simply wouldn't have been possible without technology."

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via Business Feeds

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