In this article we will discuss about the topic – The Internet Is Still The Future For UK Businesses.
The dotcom bubble burst over a decade ago and large companies now see the internet as an essential but ordinary tool for conducting business much like a fleet of cars or a piece of software. That’s not the case for smaller businesses, however. A recent survey by Go ON, the digital UK charity, determined that only a third of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have an online presence and a paltry 14% use the internet for e-commerce.
These might not be startling figures in isolation but twinned with results from the ‘Geared For Growth’ report commissioned by TalkTalk from the Institute Of Chartered Accountants In England And Wales it paints quite a different picture. The report categorised SMEs into three categories: ‘Thrivers’, ‘Strivers’ and ‘Despondents’ based on their projected growth and ambitions for 2013.
The Thrivers comprise 10% and are determined to make this year a success whereas over half are Strivers aiming for small to moderate growth. Only 5% were branded Despondents expecting to downsize their business in the near future. Critically, the Thrivers are twice as likely as the Strivers to recognise the internet and technology as having a vital role in achieving growth.
These findings effectively condemn SMEs that aren’t trading online or at least intending to in the future. The internet accounts for 8% of the UK’s GDP and £18.8bn of turnover every year. By failing to trade online these businesses are automatically excluding themselves from sharing the market.
Obviously, it’s not as simple as just throwing up an e-commerce site or hastily tacking it onto an enterprise’s online presence. The initial outlay and required expertise might seem prohibitive but the question is: if SMEs are missing out on such vast sums of money, can they afford not to be online?
The government continues to invest in the country’s superfast broadband network amongst a slanging match between the UK’s broadband providers over regulation and pricing. Any resulting regulation from Ofcom could force down the price of internet connectivity for businesses and domestic users alike. Cheaper broadband services combined with budget hosting options and web design services like GoDaddy.com are increasingly bringing affordable online solutions into reach for even the smallest businesses.
The ‘Geared For Growth’ report might not shed a lot of new light on the usage of the internet and technology by small businesses but it does reveal a difference in attitudes. Those SMEs that are embracing the internet at least believe they are more likely to succeed.