Confidence has the power to transform individuals from sideline players into leaders, and the same is true at the organizational level.
Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) let their fear of the unknown hold them back from leveraging technology tools. They fear they’ll “mess up,” or that technology couldn’t possibly have any impact on their business since they’re “not a technology company.”
But in 2013, every company is a technology company. Every business relies on technology in some way, whether it’s at an operational level (point-of-sale technology) or to conduct communications and marketing (email, social media).
At this point, remaining immune to this otherwise sweeping technology revolution is a conscious decision to stick your head in the sand.
Symantec conducted a survey of 2,452 SMBs around the globe and divided the companies into three tiers based on their responses: top-tier, middle-tier and bottom-tier.
The survey found that among the top-tier SMBs, one of the most significant drivers of positive outcomes with IT had to do with a leadership mind-set that places strategic value on technology. Among the top-tier SMBs, 83 percent said IT was strategic to their business compared with only 44 percent of the bottom-tier companies.
Additionally, this top-tier mind-set was most effective when it came from the founders or owners of the company.
“Top-tier SMBs’ IT philosophies are highly influenced by the people who started their business,” says Andrew Singer, director of product marketing for Symantec. “Previous business experience that's brought into the company by the founder highly influences how they're thinking about IT.”
The payoff from such a viewpoint isn’t just theoretical either. According to Symantec’s 2013 Internet Security Threat Report, attacks on SMBs have tripled in the last year. But among the top-tier SMBs in the company’s Confidence Index, 51 percent said they saw fewer cyberattacks, while only 13 percent of bottom-tier SMBs could say the same.
Being more knowledgeable about IT also means top-tier SMBs know how to get the most bang for their buck. Top-tier SMBs spend on average 7 percent less on IT than bottom-tier SMBs, says Singer.
“They're being smarter about their investments. They're getting more value out of the dollars of their investments,” he says.
To learn more about Symantec’s SMB Confidence Index, download the full report on Symantec’s site.
For a quick overview on how more small businesses can mimic the success of the top-tier SMBs in Symantec’s Confidence Index, check out the infographic below.