Being digitally savvy is good for business

It’s important to make sure your business has a strong online presence and that you know how to get the best out of it it’s good for your bottom line.

As a business owner, it’s likely you do multiple jobs to keep your business operating smoothly. If you’re a small business owner, or a sole trader there’s probably even more pressure on you.

Unexpected events like the COVID-19 pandemic can make being in business a lot more challenging.

When COVID-19 hit, many business owners suddenly had to find new ways of working and using digital technologies like websites and social media to keep them in touch with their customers, suppliers and staff.

Business owners needed to become digitally savvy if they wanted their businesses to survive. COVID-19 meant businesses without an online presence had to adapt quickly.

Jo Tozer of MYOB says improving digital capability is crucial for ensuring a business’s survival, growth and success.

Having a strong online presence is not only good for a business’s bottom line, it’s also good for the Kiwi economy.

“Our research shows improving digital capability among New Zealand’s SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) could add $8.5 billion to New Zealand’s economy and make a 2.6% contribution to GDP,” Tozer says.

She says SMEs have already done a lot to increase their online presence. “There’s now an opportunity (for the government) to build on the work done by initiatives like Digital Boost, by introducing ways to overcome barriers to digitisation for some SMEs -- like cost.”

Digital Boost is a free government-funded digital training platform available to small business owners and their employees.

Tozer says a digitally capable economy is a strong, growing one -- and the financial returns are good. “Our research showed that of the local businesses that have become digitally capable, 69% believed it made them more profitable.”

What does digitally capable mean?

To be digitally capable means you have:

  • Looked for expert advice on what kind of computers and software would suit your business.
  • Set up systems so you can do your business online, like banking, invoicing and payments.
  • Learned how to use these digital tools so they support you in your business and in your daily life.

Digital Boost director Malcolm Luey says if you have a good online presence, it not only benefits your business, but also benefits you personally.

“Having the right digital tools means you spend less time on business admin, and more time doing what you love – whether that’s customer-facing or spending time with your friends and family.”

“Having more information about your business close at hand helps you make better business decisions,” says Luey

Getting started on your journey

A good way for you to start on your digital journey is to sign up with Digital Boost-for free.

Digital Boost(external link)

Digital Boost was started in 2020 to help small Kiwi businesses grow their digital presence online. It also provides useful information to small businesses on the different tools you can use to safeguard your business from cyber risks.

“Digital Boost has already helped 55,000 businesses,” says Malcolm Luey. “Almost 39% of those who use Digital Boost on a weekly basis say their revenue has increased since joining.”

What do I need to be digitally ready?

The most important thing is to make a start! The basics of what you need to become digitally capable are the same no matter what business or industry.

You’ll need:

  • digital hardware like a laptop, tablet, smart phone
  • digital software to look after your security, accounting etc
  • digital skills to support your business operations
  • digital insights that show you how customers experience your website, how safe it is, and how visible and accessible your website is – this information can help you understand what’s happening in your business.

Digital Boost can help you develop the digital skills you need and provide advice on what digital insights are important for your business, and how to monitor them.

Are you digitally secure?

An important part of being digitally capable is having good data security measures in place. Without these, not only is your own business information at risk but so is that of your customers.

To find out more about what you should be doing to be digitally secure check the links below.

Using two-factor authentication (2FA) to secure your business(external link) — CERT NZ

Data privacy and security

Keep your data secure

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