Small Business Owners Re-Think Technology Usage as They Navigate Tough Economy

Faced with an uncertain economy, some business owners are re-evaluating their use of technology. The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, surveyed October 5-9, shows over half of respondents (58 percent) reporting that they have delayed technology purchases due to the economy, including purchases of new computers (60 percent), new hardware (56 percent) and new software (56 percent). However, there is a narrow percentage (thirteen percent) who report accelerating purchases in order to cut costs or build efficiencies.

Generally, however, business owners are relying on technology to connect and conduct business with their customers. Half (50 percent) of respondents report having a website, and half (50 percent) report accepting credit cards, both up from when the questions were last surveyed in 2007 (44 percent, and 46 percent respectively). Some business owners are also exploring new avenues of reaching customers, with slightly more than a quarter (29 percent) of respondents reporting that they use social networking sites for personal or business use. Among those who do use social networking sites, almost half (45 percent) use them to market or promote business and products, to connect with customers (48 percent) or to build an online reputation (44 percent).

“The use of technology has become an integral component of a business owners’ ability to effectively engage and communicate with customers,” said David Pope, Wells Fargo Small Business Segment Manager. “Small and mid-sized companies nationwide are evaluating their use of technology and adapting to meet the needs of an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base.”

About the Small Business Index

For the last 26 quarters, the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index has surveyed small business owners on current and future perceptions of their business financial situation. The Index also contains questions related to a topic of interest in the current environment. Results are based on telephone interviews with 602 small business owners in the continental United States conducted October 5 –9, 2009. The margin of sampling error is +/- four percentage points.

About Gallup

For more than 70 years, Gallup has been a recognized leader in the measurement and analysis of people’s attitudes, opinions and behavior. While best known for the Gallup Poll, founded in 1935, Gallup’s current activities consist largely of providing marketing and management research, advisory services and education to the world’s largest corporations and institutions.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs and the internet ( across North America and internationally.

Wells Fargo is America’s #1 small business lender and a leading lender to women- and diverse-owned businesses. Through its online library of business resources, including topical videos and an award-winning webcast series, Wells Fargo provides business owners with timely advice and information to help them succeed financially. For more information, speak with a Wells Fargo banker, visit or call the National Business Banking Center at 1-800-CALL-WELLS.

Note: Survey results available upon request.