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Is your small business behind the times?

Paper records, desk diaries, payment by cheque - despite the rise of the smartphone and online tools, many micro business owners are still using old-fashioned methods to manage their business.

Research by professional services marketplace Bidvine has found that, although 67% of the UK's micro businesses and sole traders use a smartphone for their business, 63% use pen and paper to manage their diary and almost a fifth rely on nothing more than their memory to ensure they know where to be from day to day.


Small firms and sole traders account for 99% of the UK's private sector businesses, but the survey found that 20% say they have lost money in the past month due to poor diary-keeping or communication; 86% of those polled still rely upon word of mouth as a new business channel.


Despite plans to phase out cheques by 2018, 44% of small firms are still accepting cheques; less than one quarter take web payments and just 6% accept mobile payments.


However, more than a third say their phone is extremely important or vital to their business and only 16% felt they could operate without it. The poll found that 52% communicate with customers by text and 65% by mobile call, compared to 50% who use a landline.


Sohrab Jahanbani, founder of Bidvine, said: 

"The research also highlights the transition that many small businesses are making from pen and paper to new technology."

John Griffin, who runs Unflatpack, said: 

"Our flatpack assembly business was started ten years ago out of an office in London with the help of a duplicate pad and paper-based payment system to process single orders. We now employ 100 people across the country and this growth simply wouldn't have been possible without technology."

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