At last week’s Google Small Business livestream, Leslie Hernandez Dinneen from Google and George Collins from Deloitte shared findings from a new research survey conducted by Deloitte in 2017.
The survey, commissioned by Google, focused on better understanding the barriers small business owners face in using digital tools for their business.
Google was interesting in learning how their programs and services could help small businesses grow and find new customers.
Over 2,000 small business owners in the United States were surveyed for the Connected Small Businesses US report.
Deloitte looked at their usage of digital tools and the benefits small businesses gained.
5 Takeaways from the Connected Small Businesses Survey
Here’s what I learned:
- Small businesses are organized into four classes, based on their use of digital tools. Each step to a new class represents an 11 percent increase in revenue growth.
- Basic: only has business email address, uses traditional marketing, no website or social media
- Intermediate: simple website, no-ecommerce or booking capabilities, free search engine listings, may be listed on online directories
- High: advanced website (responsive or has e-commerce), engaged on several social media channels, uses online marketing/paid social media advertising, uses video conferencing or cloud software internally
- Advanced: uses data from website to analyze customer trends/inform business decisions, possibly has mobile app, uses search engine strategies and video advertising
- Benefits of digital engagement range from increased revenue to brand awareness to higher employment
Small businesses with high levels of digital engagement earned twice as much revenue per employee, were three times as likely to create jobs, and had six times the amount of employment growth.
- Businesses led by women, millennials, and tech-savvy business owners lead the way in using digital tools
Personally, I wasn’t surprised by that finding in the survey. In addition, the results showed that rural-based businesses are less likely to use digital tools compared to urban-based businesses.
That’s often due to poor Internet connections.
- Forty percent of small businesses say that digital tools aren’t relevant to their business
Now that result did surprise me. And it astounded Deloitte as well.
They suggest that small businesses may not be aware of the benefits of digital tools.
Thirty-eight percent of small businesses said digital was not effective for their business, while 34 percent said they were concerned about privacy and security.
- Steps to get small businesses more digitally engaged
According to the survey findings, 80 percent of small businesses are not making use of all the digital tools they can use for their business.
To encourage more usage, Deloitte suggested:
- Increasing awareness of digital opportunities
- Recognizing there are different digital journeys
- Improving digital skills training programs
- Addressing concerns about security and privacy risks
Small businesses are taking advantage of digital tools to grow their businesses and reach new customers. But there are a lot of small business owners that aren’t aware of the digital tools available to them or haven’t explored the full range of digital tools.
If you’re interested, you can watch the YouTube livestream recording (55-minute video).