Small Business

The Massive Mobile Opportunities You're Missing

3 Key Charts: What customers want from smartphones, VC funding and the B.C. skills gap

Written by PROFIT Staff

Welcome to 3 Key Charts, a weekly department in which we explain the graphs, maps, tables and diagrams that you must understand to guard and grow your business. The diagrams and graphics displayed below could help you discover a new opportunity, alert you to an impending risk, or teach you how to be a better manager.

In this instalment, we look at how smartphone users employ their devices, Canada’s VC problem, and the effect that the coming B.C. skills gap will have on businesses.

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There’s too many apps for that

Where it’s from: “The Growth of the Global Mobile Internet Economy” by Boston Consulting Group.

What is shows: The capabilities which smartphone users most value. Despite the zeitgeist’s obsession with social media and parent’s worries about messaging apps, phone calls remain the most important phone functionality. But data-reliant functions like browsing and search are closing the gap.

Why it matters: With titles like Flappy Bird and Angry Birds (basically anything with a bird in it) enthralling users across the world, there’s a glut of game-development firms working to take advantage. But this chart shows that gaming (#20) isn’t actually that important to the average smartphone owner. If your business dream is to develop a chart-topping app, you might be better off focusing on mapping (#7) or financial services (#9).

MORE GAMING: Canada’s Indie Video Game Makers are Blasting the Big Boys—and Winning »

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Not enough money to go around

Where it’s from: “Tackling the Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness 2015” by The Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

What is shows: What most entrepreneurs have already discovered for themselves—there’s not enough VC capital available to Canadian startups. The $2 billion invested by Canadian funds in 2013 represented a 31% increase over the year before. But as the table shows, that’s amounts to less than enterprises from three U.S states received. And the report also suggested that while early-stage investment is growing, TSX-Venture companies actually declined.

Why it matters: According to the report VC funding is “the lifeblood needed to take a company from idea to market.” Companies that require serious funding injections to stay healthy might need to consider shifting south of the border to achieve their investment targets.

MORE FUNDING: Where Venture Capitalists are Investing Now »

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A looming labour problem

Where it’s from: “Skills for Success: Developing Skills for a Prosperous B.C.” by the Conference Board of Canada.

What is shows: There’s no shortage of hand-wringing about the skills gap. The newest cohort of workers, according to this view, don’t have the necessary expertise to perform the tasks that businesses need them to. Western provinces have been particularly badly affected. This graph suggests employers are particularly worried that their products and services will suffer as a result of a skills mismatch.

Why it matters: If you’re a B.C. company, now would be a good time to steal a march on the competition and hire the best young workers you can find. This graph serves of a reminder of the perils of having the wrong people in the right jobs. Small businesses have already identified hiring as the biggest challenge for 2015, so clearly yours isn’t the only firm looking for new recruits. Maybe it’s time to accept some sub-par resumes and train their owners into shape.

MORE TASK SUITABILITY: Get the Right People Out of the Wrong Jobs »

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What conclusions do you draw from these charts? Let us know using the comments section below.

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