Having robust broadband is essential, but how it is used drives the benefits for the community.
Having robust broadband infrastructure available for all citizens is essential for communities to remain relevant and competitive in today’s society and economy. Quality broadband is a necessary prerequisite for people and businesses to be connected. However, the social and economic benefits come from how broadband is used – in our daily lives and for business activity.
Every individual, residents and business owners alike, will have a different perspective on the value of broadband to them based on their background, experience, knowledge, and needs. The demand for broadband service itself is influenced by these perspectives. Many people intuitively understand the value or have specific needs that drive their demand. Many others do not fully see the opportunities and value that broadband offers.
Behaviors and needs do evolve naturally over time, often spurred by marketing of content providers. This can be further accelerated through creating greater awareness of how broadband can benefit lives and even providing services that stimulate demand to have a quality connection. For businesses in particular there is significant untapped potential to do more online in order to stay relevant, competitive, and productive in the marketplace.
Meaningful Change Doesn’t Just Happen
Years of SNG research has shown that businesses that use the internet more effectively generate more income and improve cost efficiency compared to those that don’t. Higher revenues and cost efficiency means better profits and faster growth, inevitably leading to more job creation. In fact, businesses that use the internet to a high degree report higher job creation related to their internet use.
The bottom line is that when businesses achieve a high level of meaningful use of broadband it accelerates business growth and creates new jobs for the community. Yet 70 percent of small businesses do not fully utilize broadband’s potential. This represents a missed opportunity for those businesses and for the community as a whole.
If broadband can deliver such clear value for businesses, why aren’t more businesses taking advantage of this? For small businesses the primary reason is a lack of time, resources, expertise, and skills to look at what more they could be doing online. Small businesses are in the majority in any community and are the key sources of new jobs and an important engine for economic growth. Change will not happen without overcoming the time and expertise challenges of many small businesses.
Driving Economic Growth Through Meaningful Use of Broadband
Small businesses are willing and able to do more online once the opportunity and reasons are clearly understood. It becomes just another business decision – “is it worth doing?” – and what they need is the relevant information and assistance to make those decisions. Driving economic growth through broadband means helping businesses make decisions that are right for them. They benefit and the community benefits.
SNG has applied our industry-leading research to guide individual businesses toward online practices that have clear financial benefit to them, along with easily digestible information to help them take the steps they need. Communities and economic development authorities can unleash the untapped potential of your existing business community for economic growth.
Learn more about SNG’s Small Business Growth Program and how you can help your business community be even more successful.
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