Busi­nesses with­out web­sites are at risk of be­ing left be­hind

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY - Philippa Bat­ting Chair­man of Bucks Business First

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 info@bbf.uk.com.

KEEP­ING UP: Philippa Bat­ting

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