Businesses without websites are at risk of being left behind
IF it had been the turn of this new year that had signalled a shift towards digital technology, we could understand businesses not having a website or online presence of any kind.
However, the shift began decades ago and there has been a seismic change in the way businesses operate ever since, with website sales now worth £164billion annually.
Those businesses that still do not have a website or the ability to accept payments electronically are running the risk of being left behind.
Figures from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) show that two million sole traders and small firms have no online presence and that more than half of the public struggle to support small firms because of this.
Search engines are overtaking word-of-mouth as the most popular way for people to find a type of business they need online and reviews from strangers are joining the opinions of friends and family members as valid decision-making tools.
Luckily, there is a lot of support available to create an online presence.
A new voucher scheme called Get Online, Trade Online (GO-TO) will provide £150 to any small or medium-sized business in Buckinghamshire that wants to get online, trade online or grow online.
Businesses that do already have an online presence are also eligible.
Vouchers can contribute towards building a website, engaging with customers through social media, becoming efficient with online finance, marketing to customers online and staying safe online.
More than half of those surveyed by BIS said they are reluctant to give a business their custom if they can’t find any evidence of it online. So, an online presence is not simply a tool for growth, it is becoming a tool for survival.
A business without a website in 2015 is like a business without a telephone in the 1980s, in danger of being behind the times and missing out on sales.
If you are a small business that needs an online presence, or you know you can do more to promote your business and trade online, GO-TO could be perfect for you. Call BBF on 01494 568 937 for more information.
If you offer online services and would like to be added to our list of local GO-TO digital suppliers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
KEEPING UP: Philippa Batting