According to Go On UK, two out of three small businesses are not engaged digitally. Given the prominence and reliance now placed on digital presence and output, this is a pretty surprising claim.
Even more surprising however, are the results of a recent survey conducted by kinex which suggested the lack of digital engagement for SMEs could be even greater. In a survey we asked SMEs if they sold online and, if they didn’t, did they plan to do so in the future. Of the 720 SMEs that participated, a startling 94% not only stated they don’t currently sell their products or services online, they also said have no plans to do so in the future.
The future of SMEs
Considering both the kinex questionnaire and Go On UK’s suggestion, could this suggest that the UK SME sector is in danger of being left behind in the midst of the global digital revolution? Consumers have never been so accessible to businesses yet it seems as though a huge amount of UK SMEs, which account for 60% of the private sector job market, are declining the opportunity to embrace potential customers online.
In an effort to raise awareness of the opportunities presented by digital media, Michelle Ovens MBE, the woman behind Small Business Saturday, a fast-growing annual event which encourages consumers to shop at independent stores rather than large corporates, has embarked on a new project called Do IT Digital. Michelle has become an influential individual in the industry, driving the organisation of events which help educate and benefit SMEs. Discussing her inspiration for Do IT Digital, Michelle commented, “By talking to small businesses every day, I got an acute idea of the challenges they face.”
Help and guidance
The not-for-profit campaign, Do It Digital, aims to highlight resources around the UK that can help SME owners utilise digital resources to the benefit of their business. Regardless of digital experience or confidence, Do IT Digital provides guides and direction to the most appropriate resources to help business owners to prosper in this digital age. More than just a source of information, Do IT Digital also provides a platform for owners to engage with fellow SMEs, sharing experience and knowledge. Discussing the role of SMEs, not just in relation to the economy, but also their role in communities, Ovens stated; “Small businesses are big, they are not small, they’re a huge part of the economy and they are very important… but also culturally, they play a big role as well. Small businesses help define the community.”
With an evident shift developing across the UK of consumers increasingly shunning large corporates and looking local for their goods and services, coupled with a greater focus on local search being placed by Google in their 2014 Pigeon update, it’s evident that online presence is becoming hugely important for SMEs.
Small businesses that are looking to engage more online or seeking help and advice on how to get started, can visit www.doitdigital.co.uk for easy to follow guidance. They can also be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For information on how to get involved in the next Small Business Saturday event, visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.
kinex specialise in looking after you – Britain’s small businesses. From Electricity to Broadband, we supply all the essential services you rely on at a price you like. And one bill makes the whole thing simple. You get a reliable partner and honest personal service from a team that’s keen to help. www.kinex.co.uk