Majority of smallest businesses still lack a website

Some 60 per cent of the UK's smallest businesses, which constitute almost a fifth of Britain's small business population, currently lack their own website, a study finds.

Independent business owners that already have websites are markedly more confident about the prospects of their business than those without, suggesting a chasm between Britain’s digital ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, according to a survey by GoDaddy.

Some 54 per cent of those without a website fear their business will fail to grow within the next 3-5 years. Meanwhile, 60 per cent of businesses with a website believe they could grow by anything up to 50 per cent in the same timeframe.

More than half (56 per cent) of businesses experienced increased growth in the two years after their website launched.

The research, conducted among over 500 of the UK’s very small businesses, defined as those with five employees or less, unearthed some of the most common factors for a lack of digital uptake.

More than a third (35 per cent) feel their business is simply too small to warrant a website, one in five (19 per cent) cite a lack of time is preventing them from creating a website, and a further one in five (19 per cent) feel cost is the major prohibiting factor.

Despite these concerns, a major wave of very small businesses expect to take advantage of having a robust digital identity soon, with a third (33 per cent) planning to create a website within the next two years.

While growth is certainly a motivating factor for building a website, these firms realise that their business could be in trouble if they don’t. In fact, 75 per cent of small businesses with a website say they think they have a competitive advantage over businesses without.

Many still have work to do before they can turn their website into a reality however, with two thirds (66 per cent) yet to take the crucial first step of picking out a domain name.

Stefano Maruzzi, vice president of EMEA at GoDaddy says, ‘There are over 5 million small businesses in the UK, with a further 500,000 new businesses set to be added this year alone.

‘While we take it for granted in this digital age that everyone is online, the reality is many of the smallest businesses are still to make the leap.’

Maruzzi adds that large and medium-sized companies learned a long time ago that the most effective way to reach customers globally was through the internet, and now many of their smaller peers are about to do the same.

‘This will change how they grow, how they communicate and perhaps even what they sell. That could have a big impact on small business growth and transformation in the UK, as well as economic growth as a whole.’

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Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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