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BizReport : Ecommerce : February 29, 2016

Few SMBs realise the benefits of technology for productivity, growth

Small business owners are already busy multi-taskers, and have embraced the Internet and social media. But, according to new research commissioned by 123-reg in the UK, few are aware of how technology can make them more productive.

by Helen Leggatt

In a survey of more than 1,000 businesses with one or two employees, commissioned by 123-reg and conducted by YouGov, it was found that almost three-quarters had a website, and had done so for more than three years.

However, the survey also revealed that few linked their online presence with their day-to-day processes and, as such, were not maximising productivity, despite nearly two-thirds (63%) expressing a wish to increase their company's productivity. According to recent UK government business estimates, giving five hours per week back to small businesses could generate an additional £23billion in revenue. Indeed, almost a fifth (17%) of the business owners surveyed said that their business growth has been affected negatively by a lack of time, and 31% said they could make more money if they were more productive.

The vast majority (82%) were found to be using Microsoft Office products but, once again, few were aware of just how those products could save time and boost productivity. Furthermore, 65% were using an older version of Microsoft Office.

"The survey demonstrates that whilst small businesses are hungry for growth, they don't always fully understand how technology can assist in their ambitions," said Glenn Woolaghan, small business director at Microsoft UK. "With functions such as regular updates, additional OneDrive cloud storage and ongoing support, small business owners will be able to bridge the technology gap to gain productivity benefits."

As well as a lack of awareness as to the benefits of new technology, other barriers to boosting productivity were cited including spending too much time on admin (28%), managing customer communications (17%), travel to meetings (11%), managing IT issues (85%) and tax/National Insurance (9%).

Earlier this year, Worldpay reported that one in five small business owners in the UK admit to using nothing more than pen and paper to run their businesses, spending twice the amount of time on finance and admin than they do on selling.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: small business, technology, U.K.

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