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Cognitive Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Shelly Palmer

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The Small Business Knowledge Gap to Growth

Small Business

How does a small business manage to escape from ‘The Knowledge Gap to Growth’?

There are 29 million small businesses in America. Think about it. 29 million. 29 million Entrepreneurial Pioneers who wake up every morning with what Barack Obama calls the Spirit of Possibility. The hope that today will bring them more customers, more growth, more profit and more success, for them, their employees and their families. This is our collective dream.

And yet the road to success has become steeper and riddled with potholes. The financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 has put incredible pressure on small business owners and their customers. Today’s Entrepreneurial Pioneer is not just somebody filled with hope and passion, but someone who wants to implement every single tool at their disposal to make their business work better.

This is what we call ‘The Knowledge Gap to Growth’ – or digital gulf, where the most important tool for a business’s success is the one thing that businesses are afraid of, ignore or simply don’t have the time to get right.

In a recent study based on our community of five million SMBs, we found this digital gap exists in a number of areas:

  • The Importance vs Attention Gap. 90% of small businesses say that their website is critical to their business, yet less than a third have made updates to them in the last twelve months.
  • The Usage vs Delivery Gap. Where mobile web usage is now greater than PC, there are still around 94% of businesses that haven’t optimized their site for mobile.
  • The Complexity vs Simplicity Gap. Small businesses have a tendency to make the assumption that creating a new website, or adapting their current site, is a complex, expensive and time-consuming process. 50% of small businesses think it takes over two weeks to build a site, when realistically it can be done in a matter of hours. In addition, 65% think it would be a huge headache to convert their website for mobile, even though it can be done in minutes (as Duda’s 5+ million small business customers have discovered simply by entering their websites URL on dudamobile.com).
  • The Knowledge vs Growth Gap. Sadan describes this as fundamentally critical to small businesses’ success. Businesses have enough to worry about without having to become web experts. Our products allow any business owners to create a mobile version of their current site easily within minutes. They can also automatically build an entirely new website from content they already have around the web, like on Facebook and Yelp. If they already have a site, it’s even better because they can directly import from it everything from it into the new site. Most importantly, these small business owners can take advantage of a large number of incredibly simple tools to drive their business’ growth.

For example, think about a pizza restaurant in a city center. Let’s call them Restaurant A. Some guys finish work on a Friday and head out for a beer, but quickly realize they’re hungry and want a slice. What do they do? They Google ‘pizza near them.’

What happens? First, if Restaurant A isn’t mobile-optimized, it simply won’t rise anywhere near the top in Google rankings. Second… well, there is no ‘second’ because nobody ever found you!

Restaurant B optimized their business for mobile simply by setting up a site – like through DudaMobile.com. In this case, the guys search for pizza, and Restaurant B pops up with clear menu buttons they can read without zooming in. Customers get to press on a big, glaring button that reads ‘CALL US!’ They call and eat, and Restaurant B has happy customers that only found them through a mobile site.

Sadan is points to very convincing data to back up his anecdote: “In the last year, we’ve seen Click-to-Call rates jump by 100% from 1.5 million in Q1 2013 to 3m in Q1 2014.” This is a huge increase and demonstrates the power to your business of simple knowledge that aids business growth.

So yes, there are 29 million small businesses out there with the Spirit of Possibility, Mr. Obama. Let’s just make sure that even if it’s just a simple button on a simple mobile site, these businesses have the knowledge to realize it.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

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