An independent jewellery shop in Helmsley, Yorkshire, which uses digital technology to underpin its small business, is to be featured by a nationwide campaign raising awareness of the benefits of greater digital engagement among the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses.
Libby Butler Jewellers, which has been owned by Carolyn Frank since 2009, is one of a series of small businesses being showcased by “Do It Digital”, an independent, not-for-profit campaign as part of its “100 Days of Digital”.
“We have a website which includes an online shop with a Worldpay payment gateway,” said Carolyn. “We also use social media to showcase products, and to share small business and jewellery news. Seeing small businesses helping each other via hashtag hours on Twitter or sharing information across Facebook can be such a powerful tool for collaboration.
“I love taking part in online training to keep up with new digital opportunities and have also accessed digital courses locally through the York College Business Development Unit. “
As a rural small business owner Carolyn says she was frustrated when her broadband was slow, but says the Superfast North Yorkshire programme has made a big difference to her business.
“Our website and social media allows us to stay in touch with our regular customers and also share our products and services with a wider audience. It’s easy as a small business to be inward looking, but digital training opens up a world of learning and helps motivate and inspire me with new ideas for ways to improve our customer service.”
When asked what her one piece of advice be to a small business about digital would be, she is clear that it is to use technologies that are best suited to your particular business.
“Always be open to new platforms and technologies,” she says, “but pick and choose carefully, like any business decision or marketing, and use only what fits with your individual business.”
According to a report commissioned last year by domain hosts GoDaddy, 60 per cent of businesses with five employees or less are not digitally engaged.
The Do It Digital initiative will positively promote the benefits of digital engagement for small businesses, from having a simple web presence to taking the first steps towards selling online. The campaign says that digital engagement is crucial for all aspects of business, from marketing and recruitment to banking and accounting, and is only likely to become more so.
“Digital engagement will become increasingly central to the development of competitive, profitable and growing businesses.