Michelle Ovens, Campaign Director Small Business Saturday, Tells Tech City UK Why
A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group suggested that businesses with a presence online grow at four to eight times faster than those who don’t. Four to eight times! If ever there was a reason to shout from the rooftops about digital for your business, this is it…
At Small Business Saturday, one of our key ‘pillars’ is to support small businesses in any way we can. We work with organisations across the country to find ways to help small businesses out. This can be help and advice on finance, marketing, navigating the challenge of setting up a business, working with local councils, networking and a whole range of stuff that businesses need every day.
The challenge we often face is that much of this help and advice, not to mention ways of engaging customers, is digitally based. HMRC runs some great webinars to help businesses navigate the challenges of submitting their taxes online. The challenge being that you have to be online already to benefit from the webinars.
On top of this, many of the campaign benefits we offer come through digital: sign up on our website for free posters and POS promotional kit; download logos and banners; tap into the social network to meet other businesses and find out what is going on in your area. For the millions of businesses who don’t use the internet, it is a thousand times harder for us to help them.
And to top it off, many small businesses would greatly benefit from working with OTHER small digital businesses, e.g. promotional codes, local networks, website designers, print businesses, marketing specialists. But if they are not online, they are missing out on this vibrant small business community.
So, the first priority for business success, growth and support HAS to be getting all those small businesses online as soon as possible. The stats don’t add up – over 85% of consumers are online, but less than 50% of businesses – since the businesses are run by consumers, something is not translating from their personal to professional lives.
Increasingly, initiatives around the country are looking to address this: the Go and Grow campaign from Enterprise Nation; the Go On campaign; Barclays Digital Eagles; O2 Gurus; just to mention a few. We want to get behind all of these initiaitves and propel all those millions of unengaged businesses into the digital light!
Each day, businesses across the UK fail. If only we could get some of this help to them, maybe we could slow down the failure rate and speed up the expansion rate. It all comes back to this one goal: businesses, get online. It doesn’t have to be about e-commerce – it is just as much about comms, marketing and networking – as well as sales.
As digitally engaged campaigns and businesses, we need to spread the word. How about adopting a non-digital business and show them the benefits? Together we can make a tangible difference to small business success in the UK.
Small Business Saturday exists to support, inspire and promote small businesses.