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Small businesses down on capital expenses. Another case for cloud services?

It seems to me that many small-business owners are perpetually pessimistic right now, so I tend not to report on many of the surveys sent my way about their spending and hiring plans.

Still, I think technology solution providers should peek at a new Gallup poll about small-business capital spending intentions for the next 12 months. If nothing else, the data is a great reminder of why the technology channel needs to continue investing in viable business models for managed services and cloud-delivered IT services.

According to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, just 20 percent of small-business owners intend to increase capital spending in 2013 compared with 34 percent that say they plan to decrease it. Roughly 45 percent expect no change.

That negative number is the highest reading since July 2010.

The survey reflects the opinions of 607 small-business owners in the United States, polled from Nov. 12 to 16 (right after the Presidential election).

They were also asked about their past sending during 2012. Here, too, the results showed less willingness to put capital toward new investments. Approximately 40 percent said they have cut capital spending in the past 12 months, versus 18 percent that boosted it.

I’m not sharing these numbers to be a downer, but I want believe that it provides another opening for technology solution providers that can deliver recurring or subscription-priced services that provide technology to help small businesses grow their revenue or keep cutting costs.

It offers more evidence that it may be easier to convince small companies to invest in cloud-delivered applications or infrastructure to improve their capabilities rather than trying to get them to commit to a big purchase that will require a huge upfront investment.

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