According to the Bank of Scotland’s annual Business Digital Index, Scottish small businesses are leading the way when it comes to digital skills.
Developed alongside Doteveryone and Accenture, the index surveyed over 2,000 small businesses and charities across the UK, 109 of which were based in Scotland.
Through assessing them in five key skills that are needed to succeed in the online world (managing information, communicating, transacting, creating and problem solving) it found that fewer than a third of small businesses lacked the basic skills north of the border in comparison to the UK, where an average of 38% small businesses lack basic online skills.
Experts suggest that the lack of key digital skills is one of the foremost primary barriers to doing business online and 15% of UK SMEs now state that it is the main barrier, with the figure more than doubling since 2015.
The report also highlighted the increase in threats to cyber security, highlighting this as the reason why small businesses are not doing more online.
Over half (60%) of small businesses in Scotland said they still needed to invest in cyber security, lower than the average number for the UK (69%).
Chair of the bank’s Scottish executive committee, Philip Grant said: “It’s pleasing to see that the Business Digital Index shows digital maturity and is increasing for small business in Scotland, however, there are still too many without basic digital skills.”
“It’s clear that being online can open the doors to opportunities, as well as cost and time saving benefits.”
“We must do more to encourage small businesses based in Scotland to invest in digital skills, allowing them to make the most out of being online and to reap the benefits.”
How can small businesses improve?
In today’s digital age, a website and social media channel can be one of your business’ biggest assets, so it’s incredibly important to get it right.
An effective web presence can help businesses to attract customers, increase exposure, drive sales and build credibility for your brand. So, here’s just a few ways you can do just that:
If you haven’t already got a website, then get one!
Get noticed in the search engines with SEO
Hone your copywriting skills or get someone to do it for you
Create social media accounts – and keep them active
Market your business (social media and email are the best cost-effective marketing options)
Automate and schedule posts to save time
Network with other businesses and interact with your customers online