A recent blog featured the growing tradition of Black Friday in the UK and the opportunity to offer special deals to customers. Hot on the heels of Black Friday comes Cyber Monday! It rounds off the weekend after Black Friday with the opportunity to scoop up some great deals online. This year Cyber Monday - Monday 30th November - is the day that many people get paid, so yet again there is a golden opportunity to attract increased business that day.
But how good is your online presence? Latest statistics from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) reveal that 25% of small businesses in London have little or no online presence! This means they are not making full use of a website, email marketing or social media activity. This figure is surprising in light of the burgeoning digital economy, and the LCCI is calling for government help for these businesses to prevent them being at a competitive disadvantage.
The LCCI survey - conducted by polling agency ComRes - asked business without a website why they chose not to have one, and the most common responses were:
- not relevant to their business (44%)
- costs of setting up (28%)
- lack of staff with the right skills (14%)
Some small businesses also face issues with slow internet speeds.
In light of its findings, the LCCI is calling for several measures to support small businesses develop an online presence. These include:
- creating a new business panel to raise awareness amongst sole traders and small businesses of the benefits of having an online presence;
- reintroducing Growth Vouchers to enable small businesses to cover the costs of building a website;
- encouraging landlords and developers to include high-speed broadband connections in new office buildings to reduce delays in setting this up.
At Fair Business Loans we will watch these developments with interest but would also encourage you to start creating your online presence NOW. Start small with whatever you can. If you are not in a position to create a website at the moment then you can at least start using social media to publicise your business and interact with current and potential customers. You should also be capturing email addresses of customers and can start emailing them with news and offers etc.
If you do not have the skills the build a website then is there someone else in your business who can? Or could you give some temporary work over Christmas to a student of computing to do it for you? That would be welcome extra cash for them and a good result for you!
If you want something bigger and better but don’t have the funds then why not talk to us at Fair Business Loans? We’d be happy to discuss a small business loan with you if that is what would help to put you firmly on the digital map!
Please do build an online presence - starting NOW! To quote Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of LCCI:
"Digital connectivity is an absolute necessity in the 21st century for businesses to grow. With many companies using the online marketplace to conduct their business, as well as using other digital platforms such as social media to connect with customers, it has never been more important to ensure that small businesses and sole traders are not left behind.”