Lloyds Bank have recently published their UK Business Digital Index for 2016, which analyses small businesses and charities attitudes and behaviour towards digital technology.
On the whole, the report demonstrated a few key problems that small businesses are facing. The first major issue is the huge number of small businesses that struggle with basic digital skills. This figure is currently at 1.44 million in the UK. The second issue the report outlines is the shockingly low number of small firms still without a website in 2016. Furthermore, there is a high percentage of small businesses who are not exploiting the opportunity of overseas trade. Their chances of growth are currently being hindered by not operating digitally. This report proves that there is still a long way to go in terms of getting more small businesses to go digital in the UK.
The report states that currently “49% of small businesses do not have a website.” This is a drop of 2% from the results released in 2015. Not the direction we want to be moving in. Technology is an important aspect of any businesses success in 2016 and without a website you are reducing your chances of reaching out to new customers. As a business, having a website can be crucial to your turnover as it allows you to widen your geographic audience and ultimately, to create another sales.
“Three in five of the most digital businesses have seen an increase in turnover of more than 20%.”
However, it is not just revenue and turnover that reap the benefits of operating online. Saving money and time, becoming more efficient and growth are all additional benefits of going digital. Social media also plays a big role in keeping in touch with customers, and acts as an affordable route to do so. This may be why there has been a rise in the uptake of social media use to 11% since last year. Businesses are likely seeing as this as an easier step to utilising digital for their business than getting a website.
(Reasons why small businesses are using digital – 2015/16)
The 2016 Business Digital Index has found that only “1 in 5 small businesses use digital to support their trade overseas”. If more businesses were to take up e-commerce and digital skills it would can enable them to start exploiting the opportunity available. A greater embrace of digital skills by small business would also make payments for imports easier and for the barrier in time differences to be overcome. Therefore, this means that there are lots of opportunities for small firms to do more online, especially if it results in direct sales through your own website.
There is a clear link between having digital maturity and organisational success. However many small firms need assistance in order to reach these new international markets. Additionally, the increase of sales, profits and market share should be enough to make a business want to trade overseas. It could be perhaps that the opportunity would be readily more seized if the barriers to exporting and selling were reduced.
Many small businesses believe that setting up digital platforms such as a website or an app is ‘not worth the investment of time’ or ‘is too expensive’ for their business to afford. This is highlighted by over “78% of sole traders investing no money in digital skills”. Due to the huge growth of technology and the fact that over 3 billion people use the internet worldwide, it is increasingly important for small businesses to go digital. However, a major factor holding back small businesses is that they lack basic skills necessary to enable them to get online. Digital skills include:
- Being able to find, manage and store information digitally
- Communicating and interacting with customers, suppliers and employees
- Purchasing and selling goods online
- Organising finances
- Creating basic digital content, such as a website
Breaking down the barriers
Talent Cupboard is committed to helping more UK businesses to do more with digital and to easily start trading overseas. We’re helping to create the websites that businesses need to get noticed. We’re also now able to help business to sell using e-commerce for an affordable monthly fee and to design it so it looks great on any device. Therefore, helping businesses to reach a wider geographic and potentially enter new markets.
The cost issue that many small firms have with creating a website has been solved too, as we only charge either £25 or £40 per month, depending on which plan you decide on to suit your business. With no upfront costs to build your website and at a fraction of the price that most companies charge. Find out more here.
We’re also able to help you attract more customers by setting up your social media channels so that you can engage with your customers and potential clients. In a world where most people are spending vast amounts time on their smartphones and social media in particular – it’s essential that social should be utilised. Take a look at our social media service here.