|[May 18, 2011]
Small Businesses are Bullish on U.S. Economy, Finds Vu TelePresence Survey
ZELIENOPLE, Pa. --(Business Wire)--
In the post recession economy, technology continues to play a pivotal
role in small business competitiveness, according to a survey of
businesses with 10 to 100 employees released today by Vu TelePresence, a
leader in integral technology communications services for small and
midsized businesses. Over half (55.2%) of small businesses are making
investments in technology in 2011, and more than 90 percent (96.4%)
believe that employing the latest technology is vital to stay
The survey indicated that small businesses have a renewed level of
optimism about the U.S. market - a point in line with President Obama's
messaging that small business innovation is key to moving the country
forward. Specifically, nearly 60 percent of small businesses say they
are confident in the U.S. economy, with 83 percent planning to expand
within the U.S. over the next five years. However, small businesses are
facing new challenges in this economic climate that threaten to make
advancement more difficult. For example, although the vast majority
(96.8%) believes face to face communications are critical to fostering
business relationships, nearly three quarters say rising transportation
costs have put a crimp in meeting clients. As a result, 80.8 percent
feel challenged when managing client relationships. Ultimately, small
businesses are being squeezed by cost and time management.
"In today's connected and skeptical world, personal engagement is key,"
says Devita Saraf (News - Alert), chief executive officer of Vu TelePresence. "Today's
business environment requires greater transparency and authenticity
found in face to face communications, which builds trust with customers
and is a crucial component in growing the business and maintaining a
loyal clientele base. While in-person meetings are the most desirable
connection, the reality is that telepresence is the next best thing in
building effective, business relationships."
Further, over half (61.6%) of respondents continue to feel disadvantaged
compared to larger competitors when it comes to the use of technology.
Namely, they do not have the IT resources to manage complex technical
systems, and their budgets are limited.
That said, theyare challenged by finding the time to address areas
necessary to the success of their business, including developing new
product and business ideas (84.8%) and managing client relationships
With reduced in-person meetings, small businesses are finding new ways
to address cost concerns when it comes to customer and prospect
engagement. According to the findings, nearly half (48.6%) of small
businesses have increased their use of videoconferencing over the past
year, while 21.4 percent have decreased travel to client offices. More
importantly, 75.2 percent of respondents see videoconferencing as a good
substitute for face-to-face meetings.
To address this issue head on, many are turning to telepresence
solutions for a flexible and convenient solution. Nearly four out of
five (78.6%) small businesses are using videoconferencing as a way to
stretch their time and resources; however, the largest obstacle to small
businesses' use of videoconferencing is the low rate of adoption by
their client base, according to 58.9 percent of respondents. As client
communication is a top priority for small businesses, the lack of
customer adoption forces small businesses to use other less-effective
means of communication.
"To be successful as a small business, entrepreneurs need to find new
ways to differentiate themselves by creating a deeper platform for
customer engagement," says Larry Shulman, chief executive officer of LMS
Technical Services. "As a small business owner, using videoconferencing
technology to connect with clients was the first step, but offering the
technology as a service helped my company to form new and stronger
relationships. More importantly, it offered both my business and my
customer base the flexibility needed when work and life are one in the
Additional Survey Findings Include:
Given five additional hours per week, 66.8% of respondents would use
the time to think of new business ideas. Only 34.2% would use the time
for personal activities like taking a lunch break.
Nine out of 10 (88.8%) small businesses think email is no replacement
for meeting with clients in person.
84.4% of small businesses find videoconferencing effective in building
"We are working to differentiate ourselves and connect with the small
business sector through tailored offerings," says Saraf. "It's not just
about providing them with technology that enterprises are using, rather
it's about understanding the intimate connection between small
businesses and their companies - knowing that every decision, every
investment they make, from what they spend on their business to how they
spend their time, has a deep and personal impact on their families,
employees and ultimately their futures."
For more information, please visit: www.vutelepresence.com.
Echo Research completed 500 online interviews with small to mid-sized
businesses during the month of April 2011. Small businesses were defined
as having 10-100 employees and $2 - $100 million in annual revenues. In
order to qualify for this research, participants were responsible for
making day-to-day decisions for their business, or share in the
responsibility. The margin of error associated with the overall sample
of 500 is +/- 4.4% at the 95% level of confidence.
About Vu TelePresence
Founded in 2006, Vu TelePresence is one of the leading telepresence
solutions providers for the small and midsized business marketplace.
Addressing the telecommunications needs of this market, the company's
flagship solution, Vu TelePresence and its Vu TelePoint conference
suites, provides an affordable solution with Fortune 500 level service.
Vu TelePresence is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, with Vu TelePoint
locations in most major US and India cities (with future expansion into
Europe and Central/South America) including New York, Chicago, Oakland,
Boston, Irvine, Cleveland, Seattle, Columbus, Philadelphia, Washington
DC, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
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