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Broadband helps small businesses be heard

Bowling Green, Kentucky (March 7, 2023) - March 7 is National Be Heard Day, a time for small businesses to shout out to the world and make their voices be heard! Broadband is one of the most powerful tools that small, local businesses have to ensure their messages are not drowned out by the big advertising bucks being spent every day by large corporations.

Small businesses, generally defined as independently owned, for-profit enterprises with 500 or fewer employees, are vital for the American economy. According to the latest information from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), more than 27.1 million business establishments in the country have no employees (in other words, they are staffed only by owner-operators), while another 5.4 million have fewer than 20 employees. Altogether, more than 99% of U.S. businesses are considered small businesses, representing nearly 61.7 million employees nationwide.

Be Heard Day

For many shoppers, going online is an important tool for learning about local businesses. In fact, in a recent survey, 97% of people say they use the internet to learn more about businesses in their areas, and 70% of buyers say they will visit a store based on what they learn about it online. This means that businesses with a strong online presence are in the best position to attract local customers. That’s why Connected Nation encourages businesses to have up-to-date websites and social media channels.

However, in many small, rural communities, businesses aren’t being heard online. In the communities surveyed through our Connected Communities partnerships, 1 in 5 businesses say they don’t subscribe to fixed or non-fixed internet service, and nearly one-third of internet-connected businesses (32.5%) don’t have a website. It’s not enough to simply get connected to the internet — 3 out of 5 internet-connected businesses say their current service doesn’t meet their needs, with the top problems being slow speeds and unreliable connections.

Getting businesses connected to fast, reliable broadband is vital so they can compete in today’s global market. Whether it’s shipping a product across the globe or providing a service for a customer across town, small businesses need to be able to promote themselves and be heard. Broadband can help small businesses in every community shout out as loudly as their bigger competitors.

Help your favorite small business be heard today – give them a shout out in the comments below with the hashtag #NationalBeHeardday. Follow that hashtag to watch your small business get the recognition they deserve, and maybe even find a new brand to love! And don’t forget, you can always learn more about what Connected Nation (a small nonprofit) is doing to help communities close the Digital Divide – check us out on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram!

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About the Author: Chris McGovern is the Connected Nation Director of Research Development. Chris works with Connected Nation staff and external stakeholders to develop research deliverables and provide critical analysis. He uses qualitative and quantitative techniques to interpret data, formulate reports, and make substantiated recommendations based on research findings.