NEWS: Online presence vital for small businesses Local Business Week highlights

Last week was Local Business Week run by the FSB, one of the most important points raised was that internet presence for small businesses is vital in order for them to survive. Surveys showed that only one in four small businesses have a website and of those only a third use them for online sales. Given the back drop of ever increasing online shopping, it seems vital that small businesses embrace online sales and invest in marketing their goods online. This article is a very useful read for any small or medium business, to read the whole article please click here or please find a small excerpt below:

Local Business Week (LBW) drew to a close on Sunday, leaving in its wake several interesting points to consider about the future of the British high street and its thousands of butchers, bakers, candlestick makers – and countless other small businesses.

When we launched the campaign, the intention was to encourage shoppers to stay local for the week and make SME owners aware of the support and guidance that exists for them in a digital age, especially when it comes to technology, and to go about finding valuable new customers while keeping hold of their regulars.

During the week, lots of questions came up. Local Business Week partners, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), released figures on Tuesday which revealed that one in four small businesses still does not have a website and of those that do, only one third use their site for sales.

With this in mind and despite the success of the campaign, we’re left feeling that there is still much work to do in helping busy SME owners, both current and future, truly understand the benefits technology can bring to their business.

Mike Cherry, national policy chairman at the FSB, summed this up well during the week: “As a society, we have to face the fact that the old high street is probably gone. I think it’s absolutely crucial as we go forward that small businesses look to use the digital economy in a more proactive way.”

We learned during the week that many small business owners are incredibly busy and marketing can slip to the bottom of the to-do list. But finding new customers is the lifeblood of any business – that’s an absolute fact – and marketing, albeit a scary word for some, doesn’t have to be complicated.

Local Business Week has highlighted the need for a digital presence. Customers in 2013 want things done on their own terms, and we’ve heard many stories of potential customers passing a shop or service, taking a mental note of its name, but getting frustrated at finding no website when they’re at home. So it seems customers expect to find small businesses online, and some want to be able to talk to you and to buy products without having to go to the physical premises.