#GoToGetsIT: A consultant’s view on the road ahead for SMB’s

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#GoToGetsIT: A consultant’s view of the road ahead for SMB’s GoTo recently commissioned a survey of 3,700 business leaders and IT decision-makers to pinpoint how small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around the globe feel about current economic conditions.

As part of the #GoToGetsIT series, we interview industry experts to share their perspectives on the data and what it means for business and IT leaders as they prepare for uncertain times.

With economic uncertainty on the minds of business leaders, SMBs face a series of daunting challenges. Torn between short-term survival and long-term growth, businesses are being forced to make decisions that will reverberate long after a potential recession has run its course. With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that SMBs want to base their decisions on a bit more than just a gut instinct.

To understand how SMBs can navigate these challenges and chart a course forward, we turned to Bob Takacs, Research Director of the consulting firm Analysys Mason. He has 25 years of experience in Technology, Media, and Telecom (TMT) Consulting with a focus on SMBs – working with IT vendors and operators to help them gain insights into the SMB ecosystem and to find an edge in their market. He also helps organizations to understand their data and use it effectively and efficiently.

Preparation without paralysis

As seen in the recent GoTo study, 71% of business and IT leaders surveyed said they were “nervous” about the state of their business in a recession. Takacs said that SMBs are focused on two key themes in 2023: resiliency and continuity.

With the rising demand to support remote and flexible work, SMBs and their IT leaders are keenly aware of the need to maintain business continuity for both customers and employees by providing a seamless experience across multiple locations and devices.

“What keeps me up at night is making sure that [I maintain] a level of continuity within my business. I have remote employees now. I have new suppliers. I have customers. All this has changed over the last two years. So how do I keep everything operational?”

Takacs sees an enduring demand for remote and flexible work. With 40% of SMBs maintaining distributed working arrangements, there is a continued need for investment. “What we see is managed services and the ability to manage IT systems remotely become top priorities. And then what we see next are a lot of connectivity types of solutions.”

Built for bouncing back

Beyond the mission-critical work of maintaining business continuity, SMB leaders are focused on creating organizations that are resilient enough to endure short-term challenges while still finding ways to invest in their business’ long-term success.

Takacs notes that SMBs are growing more careful when it comes to spending but investment is still essential to meet the needs of the future. “We see sales cycles taking a little bit longer than [last] year, because, [SMBs] are really evaluating their investments. They're still [investing], but they're just a little bit more cautious than what we saw back in Q1 of [2022].”

There are still many question marks ahead. Takacs cites ongoing inflation and supply chain issues, and geopolitical unrest as major factors that Analysys Mason is tracking in 2023. Yet, in spite of this, many business leaders feel optimistic that they will be able to do what needs to be done. 73% of SMB leaders, according to the recent GoTo survey, feel their businesses can survive an economic downturn. Takacs says these ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ numbers don’t surprise him, even given what’s required. “Overall optimism is perhaps down a few points. But generally speaking, [SMBs] are optimistic about their own ability and their own ability to survive.”

Check out Episode 1 of the #GoToGetsIT series featuring Molly Day from the National Small Business Association.

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