The results reveal that small businesses are expanding, with 69 per cent of respondents saying their company had grown in the last two years. Additionally 37 per cent anticipated bringing in a new partner or employee in the next 12 months.
The survey of small business owners provides insight into the growing confidence amongst UK small businesses.
Despite the positive outlook, there are still additional opportunities for UK businesses to grow. Research published this year showed that one in four UK SMB’s are still without a website. The importance of a website for small businesses is demonstrated in further data from the 123-reg survey.
It discovered that businesses that had a strong web presence were more confident for their future. SEO is very important to 34 per cent of survey respondents and those businesses which had top Google rakings were more positive about their future growth, highlighting the growing importance of a digital presence.
Some SMBs find the initial step of creating a company website to be a challenge.
Half of survey respondents set up their website at the same time as they started their company, but a quarter waited up to 12 months. For 5 per cent, it was well over a year before the website was populated with content. These results demonstrate the uncertainty business owners have when setting up a website and points to a lack of confidence and skills to handle web hosting issues.
Nick Leech, Digital Director, 123-reg who commissioned the research, commented: “These survey findings are a very good indication of the health of small businesses in the UK, but businesses must continue to move online to embrace their full potential. Our survey showed that most businesses are discovered on Google, via word of mouth and social media. A digital presence is vital for businesses and 77 per cent of SMB owners believed that they were discovered by new customers via searches online. A digital presence must be at the heart of any small business that wants to take advantage of the enormous opportunities available to them.”
Commenting on these results, Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation said: “There’s a record 5 million small businesses operating in the UK and, as this survey shows, most of them are feeling positive about the future. The building blocks of success are having a digital mind-set and presence and this is why we’re seeing many more business owners embrace the power of the web through using social media, the cloud and powerful websites to trade. They know in doing so, there’s a large and growing market wanting their products and services and waiting at the end of a connection.”
“Small business owners face daily challenges to run their companies and maintain a website. While it is sometimes easy to neglect an online presence, it’s a vital part of boosting a company’s growth in today’s digital economy. Business owners should reach out for advice and support in order to increase website usability and boost their online business,” concluded Leech.