According to the UCE RESEARCH study, 24.4 percent. This year, small businesses plan to invest in modern technologies, such as software, devices, machines, servers, cloud computing or digital security. In turn, 53.7 percent. of respondents say they have no intention of doing so. However, 21.9 percent. survey participants could not clearly define themselves in this regard. The questions were addressed to the managers and owners of 494 companies, which on the day of the study employed 10 to 50 employees, and whose total annual balance sheet and turnover for 2021 did not exceed 10 million euros. .
– Assuming that most companies have investment needs in this regard, the result is worrying. It is difficult to develop properly without the support of new technologies. But the responses are in line with the general trend visible since 2016. Private investments are postponed to better times as the economic environment has destabilized. Entrepreneurs do not know what will happen, because various ideas from leaders suddenly appear and are quickly implemented. So the question arises, how to invest in such a situation – comments economist Marek Zuber.
As Magdalena Pawłowska, head of marketing and communications at Level2 Ventures, pointed out, the results of the research were largely influenced by the fact that it was conducted after the outbreak of war beyond our eastern border. The conflict has caused increased fears and a sense of uncertainty among entrepreneurs, not just small businesses. The influence of the Polish Order is not without importance. Rising costs as well as tax and wage burdens mean that less funds can be spent on investments.
– Two groups of small and medium-sized enterprises can be distinguished. The first of them brings together all innovative startups that independently develop new technologies. In the second, there are more traditional companies that often become customers of the first. For example, hair and beauty salons often use various applications that facilitate their access to clients and the organization of salon work. In this case, investment expenditure even at the level of 10 thousand. PLN per year may be sufficient. The low barrier to entry also means that entrepreneurs often do not consider these tools in terms of new technologies – points out Radosław Kuchar, analyst at PVR Ventures.
Companies that intend to invest more in modern technologies this year indicate how much money they plan to allocate. 48.4% of respondents declare expenses at the level of 5 to 10 thousand. zloty. In turn, 21.3 percent. shows the amount up to PLN 5,000 and 10.1%. – from 10 thousand to 20 thousand zloty. In the case of 9.6 percent. of the survey participants, it will be investments from 20,000 up to 30 thousand PLN and 4.5%. speaks of a total of more than 50,000 zloty. However, 2.1 percent. of respondents choose the range of 30 thousand. up to 40 thousand zloty. Plus, 2.3 percent. respondents have no opinion on this issue.
– If there are investments, they are small. They are probably mainly concerned with the replacement of computer hardware and software, sometimes among the simplest devices. This attitude is determined mainly by the risk associated with the situation in the months and quarters to come – analyzes Marek Zuber.
We also know from the survey why companies will not invest in new technologies this year. 49.7% respondents speak of the lack of adequate funds for this, and for 33.4 percent. the argument is the still ongoing pandemic. In turn, 31.6 percent. of respondents see no such need. On the other hand, 29.9%. survey participants are indicated by the Polish College, and 29.4 percent. – the physical effects of a pandemic. Plus, 28.3 percent. of respondents do not know how to define themselves. As Marek Zuber argues, some business owners don’t know what’s available to them right now and how it might help them. Some entrepreneurs are still not very active in this area. On the other hand, investments in new technologies are necessary in most areas. They are most often associated with improving competitiveness in the broad sense.
– Well-planned investments in this area help reduce costs in many processes, such as sales, customer service, order fulfillment, production and financial management. And that, in turn, allows the entrepreneur to focus on building long-term business value. Probably no one can imagine a small software house or a fast-growing startup without modern tools and advanced IT infrastructure anymore – adds Magdalena Pawłowska.
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As Radosław Kuchar points out, many companies that operate in traditional industries can use so-called marketplaces, that is, thematic sales platforms. It does not require financial outlay and most often involves donating a small percentage of the profit from the sale of the item or service. This is a model through which, for example, small organic food producers can offer their products in digital stores. In turn, in the health sector, a Polish startup has been successfully operating for years, which allows patients to find a specific doctor or clinic and register for a consultation.