Many small businesses in the UK are still not online

Report shows that a large percentage of small companies are not moving with the digital times.

Despite living in the age where nearly everything we need can be found on the internet, a majority of small businesses in Britain don’t have their own website.

According to a report commissioned by domain hosts GoDaddy, 60 per cent of businesses with five employees or less simply aren’t moving forward in this digital era.

Of the 500 small businesses polled, 54 per cent of those without a website say that their reasons for not having one are because they feel it is unwarranted, due to an estimated lack of growth for their business.

On the flipside, 60 per cent of smaller companies who have their own site report that they expect their revenues to grow immensely in the next three to five years.

Despite the fact that many of today’s domain providers offer easy website builders with simple drag and drop designs, small businesses without a site could quickly become abandoned. With so many shoppers moving to online stores for clothing and groceries for example, it would be in everyone’s best interest for any business without a site, to begin the process in the next two years.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Stefano Maruzzi, GoDaddy vice president for Europe, said that any business being online will ultimately affect their growth, the communication, and even their inventory. ‘There are over five million small businesses in the UK, with a further 500,000 new businesses set to be added this year alone,’ Maruzzi explained.

‘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 [and this] could have a big impact on small business growth and transformation in the UK, as well as economic growth as a whole.’

Furthermore, Royal Mail have even stated that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Britain aren’t ready to cope with the coming Black Friday shopping frenzy on November 27th. In 2014, consumers spent a whopping £810 million online for Black Friday, with research revealing that 60 percent of shoppers will prefer to purchase online in 2015.

The tests for SMEs this year are said to be coping with increased website traffic, managing stock better, and getting orders from their warehouse to the customer quickly and efficiently. Royal Mail fears that many SMEs simply won’t manage with the amount of orders and increased visits to their website; in short, not learning their lessons from previous Black Fridays or Christmas periods.

Roger Morris, head of Royal Mail Parcels, stresses the importance of SMEs to work closely with the postal service, to cope with the massive influx of shopping on the day. ‘You need to plan to have the item in stock, of course, and your website needs to work; but you need to be able to get it delivered,’ says Morris. ‘It’s really about planning and trying to share the information with us so we can make sure we have the capacity in place to make sure that we can deliver your orders for your customers on time.’

With this in mind, starting a site in the first place is the most important step for SMEs, as a literal wealth of opportunities await those around Black Friday, Christmas, and beyond. While it could be that age is a major factor, as younger business owners are likely to be more optimistic and experienced when it comes to selling online. Yet, as the research shows, business is a merciless race, and if you can’t keep up with the competition then you’ll be left behind.

See also: What is digital transformation and what does it mean for SMEs?.

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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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