Procurement · 19 October 2016

Digital skills make firms twice as likely to increase turnover

digital_skills
Two thirds of small business owners in the UK have used digital tools to cut day-to-day costs at their companies

New businesses that are more digitally-oriented are twice as likely to see an increase in turnover than those that aren’t, according to research conducted by Lloyds Bank.

The highs street lender’s third annual Business Digital Index assessed the link between digital awareness and business success for small firms. The findings also showed that 65 per cent of small business owners in the UK have used digital tools to cut day-to-day costs at their companies.

However, the study found that almost two in five small firms in the UK lack “basic digital skills”, as business owners struggle with barriers to online revenue and facing greater challenges in the battle against cybercrime. More than two thirds of small business owners admitted a need to better their cyber security.

The study based its analysis around five measurements that constituted so-called basic digital skills; managing information, communicating, transacting, creating and problem solving. The index reported that 62 per cent of small business owners are incorporating these skills into their firm.

The report revealed independent sole traders as having the lowest level of digital skill. Just half were found to have “basic” levels of online expertise, while 78 per cent of these had no plans to invest in the development of such skills.

Commenting on the report’s findings, consumer digital director at Lloyds Nick Williams spoke of the “even stronger link between the digital maturity and organisational success of businesses.”

However, with analysis suggesting that “digital” was an untapped resource for many owners of small companies, Williams stressed the importance of raising awareness of the benefits and overcoming the fear of cybercrime.

“For some, concerns around online security are holding them back from adopting digital technology. We need to do more to reassure and support them to develop their cyber security skills,” he said in a statement.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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