Live chat: the digital engagement of small businesses

There is a much greater level of engagement with digital tools among even the smallest businesses than official statistics suggest. This is a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to increase their flexibility and efficiency, and for organisations who want to work with small businesses to reach them direct.

Topics we'll cover in this live chat include:

Why do small businesses engage with digital media and technology?

According to research from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills almost all small businesses use digital tools in their support functions – electronic invoicing and payment, finances, ordering goods and services. This offers considerable opportunity to be more efficient and flexible in how the business is run – a major advantage of being a smaller organisation.

What do we expect the future trends to be?  

Thirty per cent of medium-sized businesses and 20% of smaller businesses sell goods and services through their own or a third-party website such as Amazon or eBay. There is considerable scope for developing this area of digital business, particularly in the Business to Business and service sectors.

What types of digital media and technology are most useful to small businesses? 

How can digital technology and media be used by policymakers, researchers and others to engage with small businesses? 

Social media and digital communication offer the opportunity for them to connect directly with small businesses, but to do this they have to attract their attention by addressing the interests of small businesses. They can help address a lack of digital skills, but their engagement needs to reflect the reality that small businesses have wide job remits and responsibilities. 

What else should we be paying attention to? 

Other significant areas for discussion include: socially responsible business practices; the ability to trade globally; and the development of SMEs in developing countries.

Presentation time: 
Thursday, 30 June, 2016 - 17:00

Carol Sherriff

Carol Sherriff

Carol Sherriff is director of Wilson Sherriff Ltd, a small consultancy specialising in collaborative approaches to strategy and business development. Wilson Sherriff supports InBiz4Good, a digital network of small, mainly micro-businesses, interested in socially responsible business.