Small businesses need to level up their digital capabilities in order to survive pandemic Vodafone research finds

 As small businesses across the UK wait to hear how they’ll be affected by next week’s budget, research unveiled by Vodafone has revealed that 71% are relying solely on their online sales to generate income during lockdown. The mandated closure of physical stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many have had to transition their operations online in order to continue servicing customers.  

Signalling a willingness to embrace the societal and technological changes that have been accelerated by the pandemic, 84% of small businesses surveyed by Vodafone say they are keen to invest more capital into online marketing in order target a broader customer base.

Beefing up digital security (77%) and facilitating more remote working for employees (76%) were also high on the list of priorities for small businesses looking to bounce back in 2021. Last year Vodafone unveiled the V-Hub by Vodafone small business digital support platform providing thought leadership, webinars, training resources and free access to an adviser either by phone or web chat to provide guidance on remote working, digital skills and digital security. 

Vodafone continuing their support

Vodafone is continuing to support small businesses during the pandemic in order to keep them aligned to societal changes during the pandemic. Last month Vodafone offered small businesses 12 months free broadband (with just a £20 (exc. 20% VAT) setup fee) which remains available to new and existing small businesses (less than 50 employees) who are due an upgrade until 28th February 2021

In addition, Vodafone has launched 'Shout Out for Small Businesses' a new campaign offering small businesses the opportunity to win a free digital marketing boost on Facebook and Instagram alongside promotion on its Vodafone's own social media accounts. Small businesses have until the 26th February 2021 to enter and should visit: Entries will be assessed by a panel of judges, including Enterprise Nation Founder and CEO, Emma Jones CBE; Vodafone UK’s Head of Small Business, Andrew Stevens;  and former Dragons’ Den investor, entrepreneur and V-Hub adviser Piers Linney

  Piers Linney, said: “This research from Vodafone highlights just how important digital is for the business sector. Without a robust online presence and strategy in play - businesses simply run the risk of failing prematurely. It's great to see so many small businesses are embracing digital ways of working in order to ensure their long-term survival."

Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK, said: “It's great to see so many resilient and forward-thinking small businesses across the UK continue to level up on their digital capabilities in order maximise their online operations. There are more than 5.9 million small businesses operating in the UK today and they will play a key role in the resurgence of the economy after COVID. We will continue to stand side by side with them providing the guidance, tools and solutions they require to stand the best chance of survival.”