Small businesses need to cross the digital divide and grow sales

Millions of Britain?s smallest businesses are missing out on vital sales due to a lack of online presence.

Research from technology provider GoDaddy found that 60 per cent of the country?s very small businesses ? defined as those with five employees or less and of which there are five million in the UK ? currently lack a website and are potentially missing out on further growth as a result.

The study found that small firm owners without a website had a ?chasm in confidence? compared to those that are online, with 54 per cent fearing that their business will fail to grow in the next three to five years.

In contrast, a strong 60 per cent of businesses with a website believed growth of anything up to 50 per cent was possible in the same timeframe, and a strong competitive advantage over more technophobe businesses is in effect.

The main reasons for being a digital ?have not? rather than a ?have? included a third of business leaders who felt they were simply too small to warrant a website, and one in five who cited a lack of time to create one. A further 19 per cent said cost was the major prohibiting factor.

There was some optimism however with 33 per cent of very small businesses declaring that there were plans afoot to create a website within the next two years because there ?could be in trouble? if this was not done.

“There are over five million small businesses in the UK, with a further 500,000 new businesses set to be added this year alone,” said Stefano Maruzzi, VP EMEA, GoDaddy. 

“While we take it for granted in this digital age that everyone is online, the reality is many of the smallest businesses are still to make the leap. Large and medium-sized companies learned a long time ago that the most effective way to reach customers globally was through the Internet. 

“It seems that many of their smaller peers are about to do the same, which will change how they grow, how they communicate and perhaps even what they sell. That could have a big impact on small business growth and transformation in the UK, as well as economic growth as a whole.”

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