Don?t give online the cold shoulder

I?ve often said that every business should have some form of online presence. We live in a digital age where the web is fundamental to our daily routines. We use it to communicate. We use it to shop. We use it to work. The list goes on.

With this is mind, it was worrying to read research from the Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index, revealing that more than half of UK businesses still don?t have an online presence. Even more staggering was the statistic that 10% of these businesses do not even have access to the internet!

As a marketing professional, working within the telecommunications sector, I utilise the web for almost every task I undertake. However, the same can now be said for most roles within the majority of industries. We have all become dependent on digital.

Digital Age

The potential of online is extraordinary. Blogs. Podcasts. Social media accounts. A company website. Online is a vital part of operating in the so-called ?digital age?.

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For small businesses, in particular, the web is a brilliant tool for raising brand awareness and offers the ability to connect to the rest of the world, eliminating possible drawbacks such as location. There is a huge potential audience waiting to be exploited via sites such as Facebook and Twitter. With just a few clicks, someone in South America can be viewing the latest products being sold by a small Lancashire firm.

And what about ecommerce? Having an online store ensures that businesses can still trade when the physical store closes, potentially creating a 24/7 revenue stream. It allows customers to access the site at a time convenient to them, something which is vitally important given our increasingly time poor way of life.

An online presence can transform literally every area of a business.

Availability

Whereas technology was once limited to the wealthy; it is now available to everyone..

The roll-out of fibre optic broadband guarantees small businesses the superfast connectivity needed to compete with their bigger rivals. With a small investment, a business can connect itself to the world. Bespoke packages can also be created, ensuring price needn?t be an issue.

Maybe the research findings ultimately come down to time. Admittedly, small businesses have a lot to do in a very limited amount of time. But through patience and dedication, businesses can realise the plethora of benefits of an online presence.

It?d be foolish to give online the cold shoulder.