Women business owners have yet to fully realise the benefits of the internet, according to the 2014 MYOB Business Monitor.
In the survey of over 1,000 New Zealand small and medium enterprises (SMEs), less than half (47%) of women respondents had an online presence. Of those who did have an online presence, 21% had both a business website and a social media site, 20% had a business website only, and 7% had a social media site only.
MYOB’s New Zealand National Manager Enterprise Division Allison Fairkettle says it is encouraging to see that a fifth of women business owners surveyed are realising the business benefits of having both a website and social media presence. However, that percentage needs to grow as more and more customers expect to interact with businesses online.
“While I applaud those women owners who have taken the plunge online, I’d also really encourage those who haven’t established an online presence to think seriously about it,” she says.
“Our research shows that investing in a website and a social media presence is an easy way to grow your business. It projects a more professional image, and it allows you to reach more customers.”
According to the 2014 MYOB Business Monitor, women business owners who had created a website cited the following top three benefits to their business:
- Enabled business to have a more professional brand image – 61%
- Generated more customer enquiries or leads in general – 58%
- Made it easier for customers to do business with them – 52%
With regards to having a social media site for their business, the top three benefits were cited as:
- Allowed more interaction with customers – 68%
- Generated more customer enquiries or leads in general – 44%
- Increased appeal to younger customers – 42%
Having run her own small business in the past, Mrs Fairkettle says she has found that women business owners often don’t see the need for an online presence, especially if they have established a loyal customer base already.
“Many business owners think it will be costly and difficult to maintain a website and/or social media site. But we’d advise businesses who are new to the web to keep it simple and start by experimenting with different social media platforms which are free to join,” Mrs Fairkettle says.
“You don’t have to launch into a major e-commerce website with all the trimmings straight away. Start by opening a Facebook or Twitter account, and then look to create a simple web page where you can also post photos and stories about what you do and why you love your work.”
Allison Fairkettle is the National Manager for MYOB Enterprise, where her role involves coaching and supporting business partners around sales effectiveness and marketing plans. She has 20 years sales, marketing and management experience in the UK, Australia and New Zealand including with Sony Business. Allison has also previously owned, operated and sold a small business.
MYOB and Westpac offer small business owners a free website building and hosting service for 12 months. For more information check out www.getonline.co.nz.