A recent survey by BIS Shrapnel indicates that service providers are ignoring a potentially lucrative market in the form of small businesses and their technology requirements.
The report, titled Marketing Enabled Technologies to Small Business Enterprise, outlined the lack of after-sales support for the 800,000 or so businesses with one to 20 employees.
The report's author, Liz Berryman, says that only one third of businesses within this range even use a PC for enterprise management or communications, not through lack of interest but lack of time and knowledge to implement an effective technology strategy.
"There are several instances where small businesses have bought computers and then simply not used them because so-called experts have only wanted the dollar, rather than following up on the sale."
According to Berryman, this easily leads to frustration among small business owners and consequent mistrust for the industry.
The problem is exacerbated when a small business' original investment, on average $4500, expands to an unexpected $7500 due to technology support services. Most small businesses now have no place for technology in their future plans, citing budget and time restraints as causes for their aversion.
Berryman said this attitude indicates that service providers and retailers are alienating themselves in terms of establishing a strong market share in the small business sector.
"Small businesses are using telecommunications technology, phones, mobiles and faxes, but not computers," she said.
Berrymen concedes that numbers might not be significant from each individual business but the overall profit projections generated from nearly a million customers that are crying out for a total solution to their needs is enormous.