2nd August, London: While London’s small business community is rapidly growing, new research shows just 15% of the capital’s businesses are online. With over 91,618 new businesses created in London already this year, the city’s entrepreneurial story is going from strength to strength.[i] 975,835 businesses are now currently operating in the capital, however research from 123 Reg shows that just 15% of these businesses are online.[ii] An online presence is crucial to small business growth – according to YouGov, small businesses with websites are more confident about their ability to expand and 14% more likely to have grown significantly in the last two years. This highlights the need for London’s SMEs to keep on top of their digital expertise in order to grow and flourish in post Brexit Britain.
Matt Smith, director at StartUp Britain and co-founder of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, said:
“Small businesses are the backbone of London’s economy and are responsible for the capital’s reputation as one of the most important cities in the world. The StartUp Britain bus tour with 123 Reg has highlighted the need for small businesses to improve their digital skills so they are able to capitalise on the opportunities in post-Brexit Britain.”
Recognising the lack of digital knowledge among SMEs, 123 Reg partnered with StartUp Britain to tour the UK for six weeks to advise entrepreneurs on how to apply digital skills in order to take their business to the next stage of growth. Launched by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew from Buckingham Palace on the 15th June, the tour finished at Kings Cross station on 29th July having spoken to around 1,500 entrepreneurs and visited 30 locations such as Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Cardiff.
Nick Leech, digital director at 123 Reg, said:
“The digital skills shortage amongst small businesses harms their performance and stunts their ability to grow. Having toured the length and breadth of the country with StartUp Britain we’ve met entrepreneurs and small business leaders who are crying out for opportunities to boost their digital skills. But it’s particularly shocking in London – small businesses are the engine that drives our economy and supporting them has never been more important given the current economic instability that our country faces. At 123 Reg we are continuing to invest heavily to ensure all our customers have the skills they need to grow.”
123 Reg, the UK’s largest domain provider, is taking the lead in the ‘democratisation’ of the internet. With unprecedented advances in technology, 123 Reg is helping level the playing field with larger competitors by helping thousands of small businesses establish an online presence in a far easier and more cost effective way than ever before.
One such small business operating in London that has put digital at the heart is Turtle Tots. Turtle Tots is an innovative swimming programme that begins with aqua-natal yoga for mums-to-be and continues with specialist baby and toddler classes, with the business’ website allowing customers to book online.
Caroline Sparks, commercial director of Turtle Tots, said:
“Our website is the cornerstone of our business, allowing customers to enquire about classes and book online as well as showcasing our brand. One of our initial challenges was improving our organic Google ranking so our customers could find us easily. Improving my digital skills has allowed me to reach new customers, leading to significant growth for the business. 123 Reg have supported me along the way, helping me set up a website and giving me the confidence to succeed.”