Small business, big growth: How to capitalise on the online opportunity

The Internet has fundamentally changed the business and economic landscape by creating an even playing field for big and small players alike. With more and more Australians now online, the web has become a key channel for customer engagement and the message to businesses of all sizes is to fly their flag online and prioritise a digital strategy. Thankfully, today, establishing a web presence is more achievable and accessible than ever, and the differentiator between businesses that grow and those that stagnate.

New research commissioned by GoDaddy reveals that despite the prevailing view that micro-businesses are intimated by digital technology, they are in fact, trailblazers of the digital world, and among the first to recognise the close correlation between owning a website and growing a business.

According to the survey of 502 Australian micro-businesses, 64% feel they have a competitive advantage over businesses without a website. They are also tying an online presence directly to future projected growth of 10-50% within the next 3-5 years. The survey showed that this isn’t an unrealistic expectation- 45% say their business grew once they had built their website, with over a quarter seeing more than 10% growth within two years.

While the Internet can certainly seem like a daunting place for some, there’s a lot to learn from micro-businesses that are utilising the platform to grow their audience and stand up and compete in the market. Today, the web is now their competitive advantage. Speaking with Caroline Siassios, owner of micro-business, Black Mouse Design, she said, “you don’t get a second chance at creating long lasting impressions.” Caroline saw the Internet as an opportunity to showcase her portfolio and expand her business to reach new customers. While the Internet has given businesses a big head start, it’s also a strong force in levelling the playing fields for micro-businesses like Black Mouse Design.

As customers take a more self-serve approach, it’s time for companies to align to their expectations and think about their longer term digital strategy. This is more important than ever given that more than 12 million Australians are now online. In addition to realising that going online is a key step forward in their growth, micro-businesses are moving towards taking full advantage of the Internet. The study clearly shows that respondents are embracing e-commerce, social media and mobility. For example, 82% said it’s somewhat or very important for their new website to be mobile-friendly, and the majority (69%) of respondents say SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) would be the most helpful tool to reach new markets and improve customer relations- making their business more discoverable and searchable online

Considering the number of micro and small businesses in Australia, coupled with the current changes in our economic landscape driving opportunities to explore new revenue streams, the value that can be generated by creating a website is significant.

We know that micro-businesses recognise the potential of being online, but it’s critical these businesses also consider creating a long-term and strategic digital presence. If they can be found on the web, communicate their unique value to an on-the-go audience, and maintain relationships in a way modern consumers want, the world can be theirs.

About the author: 

This article was written by Tara Commerford, Country Manager for GoDaddy ANZ

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