Traditionally late adopters of technology, small-business owners a decade from now will come to rely more on mobile networks and devices as central management tools in expanding beyond local markets, according to a new report.

The report, a 10-year forecast of business technology trends by Intuit and the Institute of the Future, sees small-business owners achieving greater flexibility in running their businesses. At the same time, online networks will continue to drive changes in business formation, operations, and innovation as small businesses span local, global, and virtual markets, the report said.

As more consumers search for products and services online, a strong Web presence will become a key factor in customer acquisitions, the report said.

According to Brad Smith, senior vice president of Intuit's small-business division, owners who embrace new technologies and intelligent devices to manage operations and market their products and services will gain a critical competitive advantage.

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