It takes money to make money, especially when you are starting a new business. Adopting innovative ways of doing business can keep costs down. For example, startups and entrepreneurs often schedule and conduct meetings remotely via mobile devices to cut down expenses for travel and office space. A recent Pew Internet report, Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections, reveals just that.
A majority of cell phone owners and smartphone owners have used their phones in the last month to perform the following routine tasks of any entrepreneurial or startup business:
- Coordinate a meeting or get-together (41% have done this).
- Solve an unexpected problem that they or someone else encountered (35% have done this). (source: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Just-in-time/Summary-of-Findings.aspx)
These findings suggest that not only are entrepreneurs and small business owners—the driving forces of the U.S. Economy—using their smartphones more, but they are using them in a way that increases efficiency and lowers input costs.
Similarly, access to high-speed broadband can provide various essential tools that are necessary for startup businesses, but are extremely costly to afford. According to data compiled by the Internet Innovation Alliance and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, a Broadband for America member, broadband access can save entrepreneurs more than $16,000 in start-up costs. (http://internetinnovation.org/small-biz/)
The need for broadband infrastructure is especially critical for small business owners in rural communities. Reducing the cost of doing business includes investment in broadband in order to increase competition and drive down prices to benefit not only the individual consumer, but the overall economy.
As a tech incubator designed to help startups succeed, StartupCity Des Moines works hard to create connections for its members. Mobile devices and online tools like Skype and Dropbox allow our entrepreneurs to pitch to investors, learn from mentors, network with peers, and forge partnerships, no matter where these individuals live.
These critical interactions would be cost-prohibitive, even impossible, without access to reliable broadband. In fact, without the Internet, startups in the Midwest would be lost at sea and likely fold or jump ship for the Silicon Valley. Protecting innovation in America’s heartland requires protecting broadband access for entrepreneurs, especially those operating in rural areas.
—By Becky Mollenkamp (originally written as a guest post for the Broadband for America blog)