New Study Shows 70% of Small and Medium Business Owners Lack Confidence in Scaling Online
In a recent survey conducted by Amazon, it was discovered that 70% of small and medium enterprise (SME) owners across Europe express a lack of confidence in navigating the complexities of scaling their businesses online. The study, which included responses from 2,500 SME owners in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, reveals a substantial gap in confidence despite an acknowledgment of the value and growth potential associated with digitizing their businesses.
Key Areas Requiring Support
Among the key areas where SME owners seek support when scaling their businesses, 73% expressed the need for guidance on optimizing logistics support networks. Additionally, 70% highlighted the importance of assistance in areas such as VAT and customs compliance. The findings underscore the challenges faced by SMEs in understanding and complying with the intricacies of digital operations.
Opportunities in E-Commerce
While European SMEs recognize the benefits and added value of adopting digital sales approaches, many are unsure about the specifics of scaling up. E-commerce stands out as a significant opportunity, with 45% of respondents noting that it keeps businesses “always open,” 44% mentioning the ability to sell from anywhere at any time, and another 44% emphasizing access to a broader customer base.
Barriers to Digital Transformation
Despite the growing number of SMEs in Europe, which increased by 18% from 2008 to 2022, businesses face challenges and barriers in digitizing their operations. The study highlights that owners, on average, spend around 10 hours per week (equivalent to 65 days per year) on upskilling efforts, reflecting a determination to overcome the hurdles associated with digital success.
Time Investment and Knowledge Gap
SME owners are investing significant time in learning to increase online earnings, particularly in areas such as supply chains, delivery options, logistics, and regulations. However, these topics also bring added pressure as owners grapple with understanding and ensuring compliance with the regulations of each country they operate in.