Small business owners see online-only future

The latest American Express Shop Small survey has found that 46% of small business owners predict online will account for at least half of their sales within three years, and 48% predict their business will operate entirely online in the future, of which 26% foresee in the next three years.

Two-thirds of consumers believe small business need to go online to survive, while 57% say these smaller companies can’t compete with the delivery speed and other customer services offered by big business, the survey found.

As for business performance, only 7% of business owners rated their overall success as ‘extremely good’, 34% said revenue had increased in the past financial year and 12% indicated revenue declines.

Keeping up with technology is the fastest growing concern among 41% of respondents. Those highly concerned about attracting new customers was 44% and the economy is the biggest worry for small business owners with 50% describing it as ‘highly concerning’.

The survey also revealed that one-third say their business is at moderate to high risk of becoming insolvent in the next three to five years.

When it comes to forward planning, the most popular growth strategy is increased marketing investment (25%), followed by greater use of social media (20%), launching or changing products (12%), longer trading hours (12%) and hiring staff with new or deeper skills (11%).

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