The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed a new website designed to make it easier for small businesses to access the support it can offer.
The industry body also announced proposals to become more active on social media and unveiled plans to digitise its library of small business advice.
FSB director David Miles said of the changes: “UK smaller businesses are world leaders in their use of technology and customer care. As the voice of small business we need to reflect these fantastic businesses and I think the new brand demonstrates this.”
Miles explained that the FSB wants more of the UK’s small businesses – which numbered more than five million at the start of 2015 – to benefit from the advice it has to offer. It is already the largest business membership organisation in the UK, with 200,000 members across the country.
He added: “Today’s businesses need our support and services more than ever. Smaller businesses face numerous challenges related to a range of upcoming policy changes including the new National Living Wage, pensions auto-enrolment deadlines, and changes to the way dividends are taxed.
Research by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Skills published in March found that the proportion of small enterprises using the internet to seek business advice increased between 2012 and 2014 – with two thirds of small firms now looking for help online. Some 56 per cent of micro businesses use social media and 70 per cent pay taxes online.
A separate study carried out by Lloyds bank found that the digital maturity of UK small businesses increased in 2014 – especially among organisations in the North West. The report also welcomed the decrease in the number of small businesses lacking basic digital skills, such as the ability to send emails and use internet banking – but warned that many of the 1.8m firms with low technological abilities were missing out.
“Attitudes and awareness of the benefits of digital are still the greatest barriers to small businesses and charities doing more online with one-quarter still stating digital is not relevant to their organisation. Saving time is a key benefit to organisations who adopt digital, but those who are less digital are missing out through reluctance to appreciate the benefit or invest the time to gain the longer term efficiencies,” said Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, Lloyds digital director.
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.