CCIQ says small business optimistic for digital future
Queensland small businesses are more optimistic about their digital future, according to latest research.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has released its fourth annual Digital Readiness Survey and it reveals small business is getting to grips with the digitally driven economy.
The CCIQ study, done in conjunction with Microsoft, shows that many have moved from last year’s “state of digital paralysis” to a position of adopting and implementing key strategies.
More than 2500 small businesses across Queensland responded to the Digital Readiness Survey.
CCIQ General Manager of Marketing and Communications James Flaherty said the findings of the report were extremely encouraging with some significant changes in the past 12 months.
“Across the majority of metrics, the digital adoption and implementation of strategies and tactics are being applied with greater confidence and certainty than before,” he said.
“But as businesses take further steps into the digital world they want to know that their efforts and their expenditure will deliver a clear return on investment for their business.”
Mr Flaherty said businesses were beginning to embrace options relating to cloud computing.
“With the NBN being seen as a good investment and a game changer for small businesses, the migration to applications, storage and services will only increase as businesses benefit from the accessibility and mobility the cloud offers coupled with the improvements in connectivity the NBN should bring,” he said.
“However, NBN Co really needs to get its act together in relation, ironically, to communication, with 40 per cent of businesses not knowing when the NBN will be rolled out to them.”
Mr Flaherty said one of the key findings of the report was that 60 per cent of businesses had realised the sense in building mobile-friendly websites – a huge increase on just 10 per cent in 2015.
“With Google reporting that more searches are now being made on mobile devices than desktops, small business customers will want to find them wherever and whenever they want.
“It’s a given that businesses need to be online and 90 per cent of our respondents have a dedicated web presence, with almost 75 per cent declaring it essential for their business.”
The 2015 survey revealed that 60 per cent of businesses were generating less than 10 per cent of their revenue from online sales.
But, a year later, that figure had jumped to 70 per cent generating about 20 per cent of their revenue online.
“Businesses are doing the hard work of generating interest and creating a following,” Mr Flaherty said.
“The hard work is wasted when they fail to complete the deal by enabling users to buy products or scheduled services. If you can’t – your competitors will.”
Mr Flaherty said one in four Queensland businesses did not have an emergency plan if they lost company data, internet connection or were impacted by fire, flood or extreme weather.
“In a state where nature unleashes fury almost every year, it is very alarming to see that businesses are not adopting a business recovery plan.
“Such a plan can’t prevent disasters, but it can get you back up and running quickly with less impact.”
Key results of the Digital Readiness Survey included:
+ 70 per cent of businesses generating less than 20 per cent of revenue online
+ 60 per cent of businesses have built mobile-friendly websites (up from 10 per cent last year)
+ 90 per cent of respondents have a dedicated web presence
+ 25 per cent do not have an emergency plan if they lost company data or internet connection
+ 30 per cent use professional software to manage customer relationships
+ 40 per cent of businesses have no idea when or if they will be connected to the NBN
+ 60 per cent have IT equipment more than two years old
+ 50 per cent are looking to invest in new equipment in the next year
+ 65 per cent of businesses believe they are digitally ready for the future
+ 60 per cent are advertising online across AdWords, Facebook, SEO and traditional banner-style ads
Mr Flaherty said the 2016 Digital Readiness Survey revealed more optimism in the business community.
“Businesses have greater confidence, have made wise investment decisions and are looking to invest pragmatically in the future,” he said.
“They are confident that the NBN, social media and cloud-based technology will improve the way that they do business and open up new areas of opportunity.
“Having said that, businesses must not be complacent. There are areas where they need to consider taking additional steps to help protect their business or plan their activity.
“But, on the whole, small businesses are heading in the right digital direction.”
Microsoft’s Small Business Marketing Manager Stephanie Mastroianni said Microsoft recognises that small businesses are the backbone of the Queensland and Australian economy.
“We strongly believe that creating a culture of work that fosters innovation is critical to our country’s future and the success of small businesses nationwide,” she said.
“Our partnership with CCIQ and the creation of the Digital Readiness Study allows us to provide small businesses with the information, networks and technology solutions needed to achieve our common mission of helping businesses realise their full potential.”