WASHINGTON - As the Federal Trade Commission seeks ideas on how to better police Big Tech, a newly launched nonprofit is helping existing small businesses access digital tools and advocates for the protection of small-business interests as they relate to technology.
The FTC will hold from 15 to 20 meetings between September and January to assess the need for new laws aimed at consumer privacy and marketplace competition.
Jake Ward, president of Connected Commerce Council, or 3C, says regulations aimed at Big Tech could have the unintended consequence of hurting small businesses that rely on digital tools and services to grow and succeed. Ward believes the proper digital tools, resources and training can improve efficiency for a small business and increase their potential for success. "The benefit of these platforms, these tools and these technologies to today's small businesses is remarkable," he says. "They grow faster, they run more efficiently, they make more money, they last longer." In 2018, a study by Deloitte professional services found that small businesses with high levels of digital engagement earn twice as much revenue per employee.
Stella Crewse is the CEO of locally owned Morgan Miller Plumbing in Springfield, Mo. After the company embraced digital platforms to reach customers and dropped traditional marketing such as the Yellow Pages, she says costs were reduced and business increased dramatically. She notes that ill-conceived laws can have a negative effect on small businesses, and she relies on 3C to keep her informed. "I love the concept of having some advocacy, first of all, to be able to have a finger on the pulse on what's going on, what's being regulated, legislated, without all the research time that's involved," she says.
In Fort Worth, Texas, businesswoman Victoria Wise uses digital tools to promote her Tanglewood Moms blog and tell community stories that highlight entrepreneurship, cultural diversity and education. "You don't have to hire a team of professionals," Wise notes. "You can really do it all yourself and then grow, generate revenue, potentially add on employees, and that's what I've done." Wise says small businesses are helping drive the world's economy more than ever, and digital tools such as web-building software, social media and data analytics help them remain competitive on the world stage.