Tech Platforms Provide a “Digital Safety Net” for Small Businesses

By at 18 May, 2021, 2:54 pm

Growth Without Barriers Podcast: Digital Edition Highlights

In this week’s Growth Without Barriers Podcast – Digital Edition, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan expands on the message in her latest Townhall Op-ed about how legislative efforts in Congress could undermine America’s tech ecosystem, and by extension cause great damage to small businesses and U.S. entrepreneurship. The ecosystem powering America’s digital economy must be preserved and strengthened, not eroded or destroyed, as Karen argues in her Op-ed and on the podcast with host Gregg Stebben.

In this latest Digital Edition podcast, Karen and Gregg discuss:

Consumer Harm Not Proven.  A series of antitrust bills are expected to be introduced in the U.S. House, which aim to break up or highly regulate “Big Tech.” Regarding the Subcommittee on Antitrust’s potential legislative “remedies” that will be pursued against America’s leading technology companies, Karen asks: “Where’s the consumer harm?” Karen said the outcome and effect of the legislation would actually harm consumers  – including small businesses – not help them.

Small Businesses Will Be Harmed by Antitrust Overreach. Tech and tech platforms have vastly improved the consumer experience and have helped small businesses reach and serve consumers, and survive – especially during COVID-19. She provides an update on what’s happening with regard to forthcoming action in the U.S. House, including expected legislation that would have the effect of cutting small businesses off from millions of consumers and the tools entrepreneurs use to market, operate, grow and compete.

Policies Need to Widen the Digital Safety Net, Not Cut It. The digital ecosystem has become a “safety net” and Karen highlights a Connected Commercial Council research report and survey that finds “digitally advanced” small businesses have “better revenue, stronger performance, greater agility and a more positive outlook on the future.” She expresses concern about the gap that exists between the digitally advanced and those less evolved or have yet to adapt tech tools, and how government policies and radical antitrust legislation could cut the safety net by cutting off affordable tools, access to consumer markets and new innovations that help small and new businesses better compete and grow.  She argues that government policies need to enable and encourage tech innovation, investment and access, not punish tech companies that provide support and market access for small businesses.

Digital Advertising More Effective During Covid-19. With regard to online advertising, Karen and Gregg discuss a Sidecar 2021 Benchmark Report that finds, “ROI for online advertising benefited from the shift to ecommerce in 2020, as well as the increasingly granular targeting capabilities offered by the biggest players in the space.” Karen observes that improved performance has certainly benefited small businesses and reminds Gregg about SBE Council’s recent report on online advertising (The Digital Boost to Startups and Small Businesses: Online Advertising Delivers Big Benefits), which found that in addition to saving small businesses $163 billion annually due to the efficacy and lower costs associated with digital advertising, it is rated very effective by small businesses in their efforts to reach consumers and drive sales. In addition, according to SBE Council’s report, 80% of startup entrepreneurs said that being able to effectively reach potential customers through online advertising played a factor in starting their new businesses (with 90% stating that online advertising provides their business with an affordable option to launch and/or grow their business, and 86% saying digital advertising is important to business survival and growth.)

During the pandemic, tech platforms have improved digital advertising – granular targeting, return on investment and affordability – by further utilizing their scale, and Karen, again, says that government policies should not work to destabilize this proven and cost-effective means of connecting small businesses with consumers through excessive regulation or intrusive legislative action.

Listen to the full podcast here.


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