New research released by MYOB, Australia’s largest business management solutions provider, has found nearly two thirds (64%) of Australian small to medium businesses don’t have their own website. It also found their online peers are experiencing more impressive financial and operational results.
The March 2012 MYOB Business Monitor report revealed businesses without a website are missing out on higher revenue, better sales conversion and a greater number of customer leads – benefits enjoyed by their online peers. Businesses with a website also had more sales in their pipeline and were more positive about the economy’s future.
Curiously, the proportion of website owners has declined slightly over time, with 36% in the latest report – a drop from 38% in the October 2011 report and 39% in March 2011. This may be due to the increased use of social media for business, which rose to 25% in this report from 22% in March 2011.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, “I am surprised the proportion of SMEs with a website has not risen in the past year, and the proportion of those using social media for business has increased only slightly.”
“All business owners should consider creating their own website and improve their chances of success in an increasingly digital economy. Our research shows that in doing so they‘re more likely to improve their business performance across customer acquisition, revenue and more.
“Being an effective online player is not about having a complicated website; it’s about enabling your business to be found. With around two thirds of consumers searching the internet before making a purchase decision, if a business has no online presence it’s denying itself some serious firepower.
“Getting online is a key strategy for attracting new customers, building customer loyalty, creating new revenue streams and increasing your visibility, credibility and competitive edge. The results are clear. Building an online presence is a business move that should be a strategic imperative for most operators.”
Different strokes for different folks
- The March 2012 report found those with a website were more likely to:
- See their revenue increase in the past 12 months: 27% versus 17% of those without Have more sales than usual in their 3-month pipeline: 37% versus 27%
- Expect their revenue to rise in the next year: 42% versus 24%
- Intend to increase staff numbers this year: 25% versus 9%
- Intend to expand the number of overseas markets they work in: 16% versus 5% Expect the economy to improve within 12 months: 26% versus 16%
- Be satisfied with Federal Government support: 15% versus 10%
46% of online SMEs reported their website had increased customer leads and 37% said it enabled them to compete more effectively. 31% grew their revenue/income as a result, and customer interaction had improved for the same proportion. 30% said they enjoyed better conversion of leads to sales as a result.
Victorian business owner Betrina Hill, who runs www.tangle-teezer.com.au thanks to the Getting Aussie Business Online initiative, says, “Not having a website was holding me back. It was my biggest problem in business and I was missing the sales opportunities. The very first day my website went live, at midnight my phone rang and I had my first sale! There hasn’t been a day since where I haven’t had a sale. It’s created another dimension to my business.”
“There are so many people who are in the same situation that I was. It’s the small businesses that are really suffering because they are not online.”
Social media savvy
- Of those who said they used at least one form of social media for business purposes:
- 25% use Skype or VOIP to make free business phone calls over the internet
- 19% network with business colleagues and/or clients on LinkedIn
- 18% connect with customers and fans via a business page on Facebook, YouTube or Google+ 12% share news and updates via a blog (either via their own website or WordPress/Blogger) 6% communicate via micro-blogging sites such as Twitter
As was the case with state-based differences regarding website usage, Victorian SMEs were the biggest users of social media – 24% said they used it for business. However, some respondents across the states displayed confusion about what constituted ‘social media’. Although 25% nationally used Skype, no state hit that high a figure when respondents were asked if they used social media in any form for business.
Established in 1991, MYOB is now Australia’s largest business management software provider. Its 50+ products and services have been employed by over one million businesses in Australia and New Zealand. MYOB serves businesses of all ages, types and sizes, delivering solutions that simplify accounting, payroll, client management, websites and more. With a network of more than 20,000 accountants and other professional partners, it provides the support and tools that help make business life easier. Today, MYOB solutions extend online, delivering innovation through cloud computing, enabling clients to make smarter connections with business partners and customers. http://myob.com.au/smarterconnections.