Business development · 30 June 2016

Adaptability viewed as increasingly key to small business success

Among the top ten most popular online courses were learning to code through making games and yoga as meditation
Small business owners are increasingly looking towards online sales for growth

As many as 38 per cent of small company owners in Britain believe their firm will be out of business within five years unless they adapt their growth model, yet just two per cent have actually done something about it.

The findings of a new survey have shown that online sales are fast becoming the main area small business owners are looking towards to boost growth, as 64 per cent of small firms face competition from new digital players in their market.

Yet despite the competition, just six per cent have invested in new technology to keep up with the digitisation movement and retain market share.

Looking at the technology adoption among 2,500 small firms, both in the UK and across Europe and the US, Exact’s 2016 SME Barometer identified that as many as 73 per cent of small businesses in the UK have plans to grow, primarily via online sales but also through other outlets.

Small business owners are also looking to widen their partnerships and increase channel sales, whilst hiring more staff is also seen as a priority to boost business. Similarly, to those across Europe and the US, many of Britain’s small firms are considering alternative business models to boost growth.

Foreseeing that technological change will have a strong impact on growth in the coming years, more and more small firms in the UK are embracing cloud technology. Almost 60 per cent of smaller ventures are now using cloud tools – up from 47 per cent in 2015.

Commenting on the findings, CEO at Exact, Erik van der Meijden, said: “The use of technology to deepen business insight means that the small business economy is entering a new period of rapid growth and efficiency.

“Entrepreneurial businesses are taking advantage of digitalisation to broaden their service offering. Companies are becoming increasingly agile, adapting to customer demands and market fluctuations in real time.”

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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