To Grow Your Business, It Helps to be a Geek

To grow your company bigger and faster, it helps to be a geek.  

CDW, the computer and technology products vendor, did a survey of owners of mid-size businesses.  The business owners were asked to look back at their growth path. 

The point of the survey was to identify which factors helped small businesses succeed and grow.

The survey, called the CDW Business Rearview Mirror survey, found that the more tech-savvy the business owners, the faster they grew their businesses. 

In other words, the owner’s own personal tech savviness correlated to business success.

Tech savvy businesses grow faster

Seventy-three percent (73%) of those who described themselves as “total geeks” reported double-digit average annual growth in their businesses over the past 5 years.  Nearly half — 48% – of the tech savviest reported that their businesses reached the 100-employee milestone with in 5 years of launch, compared to just one-third of all survey respondents.

This survey squares with a phenomenon I’ve noticed anecdotally: the “business owner geek.”   Not only are such business owners on the forefront of purchasing technology, they sometimes go so far as to invent it if they cannot find it on the market.

For example, it’s not too uncommon to run across a business owner who has created a piece of software to use in his or her own business, and then turns around and licenses that software to others.  Examples range from the oriental rug dealer who creates his own inventory management software, to the hotel owner who creates a reservation system.  These are business owners who understand how technology can make for more efficient, productive and profitable enterprises — so much so that they will build it themselves if necessary.

You can request a copy of the CDW study results here.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

10 Reactions
  1. I’m not surprised that this study shows a direct correlation between tech-savvy and increased success. And this inventive characteristic applies to areas other than tech as well. I know a gentleman that owns and operates an excavation business. Out of necessity, he invented some sort of collar (don’t know the details) to help make his job easier. It worked so well, he hired an attorney and patented his product. He then sold it for a couple hundred thousand dollars to a large company that now produces them for distribution – and he purchased his dream home in Montana, where he loves to hunt, with the funds.

  2. It might be of interest to go more in depth with this research. I would be curious to know what other personality traits these “geek” business owners possess that correlate with being tech savvy.

  3. As the wife of a tech-savvy “geek” I can give a resounding nod in the affirmative on all of this. They really are amazing.


  4. Hi Anita, I’d go a step further and say that if the business owner is NOT a geek (ie – Norm Brodsky) have staff who ARE your trusted geeks (or geek!) in addition to a GOOD local technology consultant!

    Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist

  5. I agree that tech savy business owners stay ahead of the trends & technology. It’s only natural that those who ingnore new technology will get left behind.

  6. Zimkhitha Lolwana

    Yes I hear what you are saying but could you please help me in understanding the question saying what are the biggest constraints facing small businesses?