Despite all the hype about online shopping taking money away from local businesses, a new study has found close to 70 percent of local small businesses aren’t losing any sleep over threats posed by the internet.
According to research commissioned by Telstra Business and the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA), while large retailers continue to complain online shopping is impacting profits, SMBs are tackling the issue head on, with 81 percent having established a website and many planning to boost their online presence this year.
To Telstra Business group managing director Will Irving, the results show the internet is seen as a powerful and positive tool by small business.
“Adding new customers is the top priority for two-thirds of SMBs in 2012 and building a stronger web presence can do just that,” he said.
SMBs aren’t embracing all the internet has to offer though, with just one fifth using social media in their daily operations.
“Many small business operators will have to change their mindset to embrace social media… Six-in-ten business operators or owners are telling us they believe staff should not be able to access social media in the workplace,” Irving added.
The top uses of social media are interacting with customers (74 percent), promotion (64 percent) and generating sales leads (38 percent). Interestingly, a further 38 percent said they use social media for direct sales.
After increasing their Internet presence in 2012, other priorities SMBs include reducing debt (35 percent), networking (27 percent) and investing in new technology (23percent).