Across 11 of the G-20 countries, SMEs using high levels of digital technology have experienced revenue growth that was up to 22 percent higher than that achieved by SMEs with low or no use of the web over a three year period.
Sales at what BCG refer to as “high-web companies” increased six times as fast as revenues at firms with no internet presence. This is partly due to the fact high-web companies are twice as likely to have access to national or international customer bases outside of their local market.
The Boston Consulting group have highlighted five ‘levers’ that explain the advantages high-web SME’s receive that businesses in the Hume region may also capitalise on.
1. Geographic Expansion: The internet creates a borderless world for many SME’s, enabling them to compete with much larger, multinational companies by accessing markets that were previously out of reach.
2. Enhanced Marketing: Online marketing delivers expanded reach and measurable returns. It also yields valuable data about consumers and their preferences, enabling targeted and personalised advertising and offers.
3. Improved Customer Interactions: Social media make it possible for companies to engage in real-time dialog with customers not only to boost sales but also to build loyalty and even to help create, refine and enhance products and services.
4. Leveraging The Cloud: SMEs can access sophisticated, often cloud-based, tools to enhance a wide range of functions, including customer relationship management, information management, and customer payments. As a result, these companies can grow quickly without requiring large investments in infrastructure.
5. Easier and Quicker Staff Recruitment: The recruiting options available today are more powerful and less expensive that ever before, and they enable SMEs to tap a global talent market.
So what’s stopping SME’s tapping into these under-utilised levers? Barriers are generally identified as poor access to technology, lack of capabilities, lack of resources and doubt over the potential returns.
The good news is that none of these levers are out of reach for the average Australian business. Almost all basic tools are available in a free format and there are countless resources to help you get them working for your business.
A great place to start is to take the digital diagnostic on this website (also available through www.digitaldiagnostic.net.au). THe diagnostic takes 5 minutes to complete and will highlight areas where you can start working on your business. The diagnostic tool then links to a series of resources to help you get started on the changes you need to make.