Bridging the digital divide for the UK's SMEs

Lloyds Bank recently launched its annual Business Digital Index. Broadly speaking it found that was some encouraging progress in the digital maturity of small business and charities in the UK but still much to do as there are still 1.6m small businesses and 100,000 charities lacked even basic digital skills.

 

 However, if the 16% of these small businesses and 20% of the charities were to try just one more skill in the next 12 months, 75% of businesses and 68% of charities could have full Basic Digital Skills by the end of 2018.

It’s no surprise that there is a slow uptake of digital skills. A new report out which analysed data from Companies House found that the typical business owner is 51, British and male.

The fact is that we are in a rapidly changing landscape with customers increasingly using digital channels to communicate. Websites are becoming more sophisticated, mobile technology is evolving almost on a daily basis, we're already in an age of programmatic advertising while augmented/virtual reality and artificial intelligence are waiting in the wings.

I believe the main issues preventing these organisations embracing digital technology are education, age and mindset. A huge proportion of smaller businesses are owned by people in their 40s and 50s who have been left totally behind by the digital revolution.

 

 Most of these will have become business owners in the 80s, 90s and Noughties, when digital skills weren't the prerequisite of running a successful company. So web design, e-commerce, SEO, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, remarketing, social media and online data analysis were distant clouds on the horizon.

Short on time and resources, few of them have been able to up-skill themselves and risk falling prey to younger, more digitally-savvy competitors. Many even struggle to understand cloud computing or how to get the most out of their smart devices.

While many older business owners are really struggling to keep up with a changing environment though, there are plenty of others in the 40s, 50s and even 60s who are open to change, happy to adapt their ways of working and embrace new technology.

The key to ensuring that these organisations continue to thrive and be competitive is having a proper business strategy and positive mindset.

This is where DNAsix® comes in. This simple system is designed to provide the firm foundations from which you can stay profitable now and many years into the future.

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