What does digital business mean to you?

Being immersed in technology everyday is par for the course when you run a growing cloud services company like Xero in Australia. My counterpart in the UK, Gary Turner provided in his blog just some of the technology options available that help him and his team be more productive, to better communicate, to work remotely, and so on. But what about from the perspective of a business owner or an accountant?

On the road talking to accountants and bookkeepers last week I conducted my own somewhat informal survey about technology uptake in their industry. Like many SMEs, these professionals are grappling with technology options for their practice and are at various phases of adoption as they figure out how this notion of digital business can help them succeed.

There’s some great examples of practices doing cool things with technology. Many are investing in building compelling websites that offer fixed fee accounting services which are helping to attract new and profitable clients. On the Social Media front, one of our accounting partners Ryan Tietjens of Fivewaycharters in Melbourne reports he’s getting more leads from Twitter than any other medium (see above). Ryan believes Twitter is an extremely cost effective medium when compared with Google Adwords for instance.

How does small business fare?

In preparing for a speaking spot at the KANZ Broadband Summit 2011 in Tasmania later this week, I’ve also been keen to find out what sort of impact technology is having on small business. Surprisingly a recent business survey commissioned by Google shows that up to two thirds of SMEs in Australia still do not have a website. How can this be? My notion of every business owner out there openly embracing and hungrily consuming all that technology has to offer now seems a bit off the mark.

The Federal Government obviously shares that concern and in December 2010 launched a new Digital Business website which aims to help inform small business owners about the vast array of technology options available to them and the merits of each so they can survive and thrive in the digital world. This is a great initiative and explores everything from setting up a website, to online marketing, social media, mobility, SaaS and the cloud, and much more.

But even if you doing nothing else, create a Google Places listing. This allows you to take control of your Google search profile and is the best way for customers to find you online.

One Comment

January 14, 2012 at 6:19 am

I say entrepreneurs much reach out to the digital world, this is the best way to attract a lot of potential customers, and it does to my new blog about iPage. Glad to know that the gov’t. launched a new digital business website to help small business owners. Thanks for sharing.

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