Businesses with a greater online presence are more profitable and confident according to the March 2014 MYOB business monitor.
A higher proportion of small to medium enterprises (SME) described as online-savvy had revenue growth in the year to February 2014. MYOB said these companies can expect higher future revenue growth than their competitors without online technologies.
The same SMEs also reported higher economic confidence and more sales in the short-term pipeline.
The study was conducted with the participation of 1032 SMEs and found the growth expectations of active online businesses was likely due to current workload. 28 per cent of business with a website reported an increase in revenue, as opposed to 18 per cent without one. 29 per cent of companies with a presence on social media reported increased revenue, compared to 20 per cent without.
The total proportion of SMEs with a website is now 42 per cent, which is up from 38 per cent six months ago. Social media participation increased from 33 per cent to 39 per cent in the same period. The largest increase was in Cloud computing, which doubled 33 per cent from 16 per cent six months previously.
MYOB chief strategy officer John Moss, said the difference between online businesses and those that don’t have an online presence is marked across a range of business performance measures.
“What’s clear to us from our years of conducting research into SMEs’ use of online technologies is that businesses with an online presence reach more people and are more engaged with their customers. This translates to stronger business performance. For example, those with a website are 56% more likely to see annual revenue rise, and those who use cloud computing are 30% more likely to do so. Businesses that embrace online technologies also have more work in their short-term pipeline.”
“It’s evident the digital divide among SMEs is widening, and we strongly believe it’s time for more business operators to take a look at the benefits of easy-to-use online technology for the health of their business,” Moss said.
According to the survey, LinkedIn is the most popular business social media platform. Eighteen per cent of SME operators using their profiles to connect with colleagues and other business people. Seventeen per cent have a Facebook page for their business, while eight per cent have a Google+ business page. Six per cent communicate via Twitter and five per cent use YouTube as a vehicle to connect with customers.