The new survey of SME decision makers found that when it comes to online awareness, small business owners surveyed understand the importance of a website and the benefits it can bring to business growth, proven by the fact that 64 per cent of respondents set up their website more than three years ago.
However, SMEs fall down when it comes to linking their day-to-day processes and their online presence, showing a failure to use technology to help save them time.
An overwhelming 63 per cent of small business owners would like to increase their company’s productivity but only a third of these had a plan in place to do so. A key reason for this low percentage seems to be a majority of SME’s used Microsoft Office products – many were unaware of how to get the most time saving and therefore productivity increasing benefits.
Nick Leech, digital director, 123-reg commented: “UK micro and small business owners are huge multi-taskers – managing all of the company’s tasks from completing the work, generating new sales and managing accounts and pay roll. UK SMBs have already demonstrated they’re digitally savvy by embracing websites and social media in their millions. Now, they need to think about how they can save time by embracing technology further so they can focus on the tasks that add the most value to their bottom line. For example, they can save time on travel to customers by investing in high quality video conferencing, as well as on smaller task such as using digital signatures on formal contracts to avoid printing and scanning, setting emails to be delivered once a day instead of interrupting work flows, and working collaboratively on documents with partners to avoid lengthy meetings.”
Leech added: “The need to save time is crucial, not only to grow your own business but for the UK economy. We’ve calculated, based on recent UK Government business estimates, that by giving five hours per week back to SMBs, an additional £23bn of revenue can be generated. In the past two years, almost half of UK businesses have grown, but this figure shows that there’s so much room for additional expansion. Technology can be seen as a challenge – but the new tools on the market are easy to use for those without a technical background – any business owner can set them up and start managing their business and home lives more efficiently. By embracing additional tools they will be able to reduce time spent on unproductive admin tasks and focus on the activities that really drive business growth, such as producing excellent work or networking for new leads.”