Get Started: Technology, regulations, seminars


Cloud technology and smartphones have become increasingly important tools for small businesses over the past three years.

That's the finding of a survey about small business technology use conducted by the National Small Business Association, an advocacy group. The survey found that businesses have sharply increased their use of new types of technology in recent years.

Forty-three percent of small-business owners who participated in the survey said they use cloud computing, the technology where data and software are stored offsite and accessed via the Internet. While that's not yet a majority of businesses, it's a huge jump over the 5 percent that used it in 2010.

Seventy-four percent of the owners said they use a smartphone, up from 57 percent three years ago. Although a majority of owners were using smartphones in 2010, many were still resisting the devices even though the iPhone was then three years old and the BlackBerry had been on the market for years.

Dial-up Internet service is a thing of the past at small businesses. Only 2 percent said they use it. Forty percent use cable, 31 percent use DSL and 28 percent use broadband.

Owners have become more hands-on in taking care of their companies' tech support. Forty percent said they have primary responsibility for tech support, up from 25 percent in 2010. And far fewer are paying for outside tech support — 24 percent now pay someone else to help them, down from 36 percent.

The survey questioned 845 small business owners during August.


The House Small Business Committee last week approved a bill that aims to lessen the regulatory burden on small companies. The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act requires federal agencies to carefully consider the direct and indirect impact of regulations on small businesses.

The bill, which now goes to the House floor, would also require agencies to convene review panels to look at regulations' effects on small business. The panels would seek comments from small businesses before a regulation would go into effect.

The bill includes amendments to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which was signed into law in 1980.


Most wealthy business owners wanted to start or own a company because they hoped to control their destiny.

That's the finding of a survey of business owners with a high net worth conducted by U.S. Trust. The private bank's survey found that 60 percent of owners wanted a business because it would give them more control. And it appears that they've succeeded, as least in terms of being fulfilled. Seventy-two percent said that by owning a company, they are more likely to be fulfilled than people who work for someone else.

Many younger business owners, those in Generations X and Y, said that owning a business empowers them to make positive impact on society. Nearly 80 percent of Generation Y owners said they were empowered, compared to 54 percent of Generation Xers and 35 percent of older owners.

But even wealthy business owners make sacrifices because of their companies. Seventy-one percent said the needs of the business often take priority over their personal needs and obligations.

The survey questioned 711 people who had between $3 million and $10 million and more in assets that can be invested.


The Small Business Administration and Small Business Majority will hold an online seminar for small companies with information about the Affordable Care Act. It will be Thursday at 2 p.m. Eastern time. You can register at

Doing business overseas is a mystery to many small business owners. SCORE, the organization that provides counseling to small business owners, holds a seminar on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Register at

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