We may be coming to another new “normal,” but for independent Canadian small businesses, the digital strategies born out of the COVID-19 era are here to stay, a recent survey of small business owners reveals.
It is not for fear of new lockdowns, but rather of the opportunities and improvements that digital investments have unlocked for Canadian small business owners. According to a new post-pandemic survey conducted by Logit Group on behalf of GoDaddy, more than two-thirds of small businesses have changed their online presence during the pandemic and are in turn optimistic about their business growth over the past 12 coming months. Having experienced the benefits of an online presence over the past couple of years, many agree that continued attention to their websites is key to future success.
This latest pulse on the sentiments of Canadian small business owners comes two years after GoDaddy, the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs, surveyed business owners about the changes they were making to maintain their business during COVID-19.
Prior to the 2020 shutdowns, only about half of Canadian small businesses surveyed had a website or social media presence; at the start of the pandemic, an additional one in four businesses launched a social media profile or website to maintain operations and marketing. But at that time, only 37% of business owners said they planned to preserve those online assets once they could physically reopen.
What a difference two years make
Since 2020, 64% of small businesses surveyed said they had made digital adaptations to support their business. This includes more than 40% of small business owners who have made e-commerce-specific transformations, such as improving online tools, creating a new website, or increasing online business offerings. These digital investments are paying off: 42% of owners credit their e-commerce presence with helping their business grow, even amid the pandemic.
That’s probably why GoDaddy’s latest survey shows that the number of small businesses saying their digital changes were only temporary has dropped by a third.
In 2020, 18% of business owners planned to stop the digital adaptations they made to overcome the pandemic. Today, only 12% intend to reduce their online presence. Meanwhile, 41% affirm their new online tools, and social media profiles are here to stay.
Online tools believed to help address current challenges
Even as pandemic concerns ease, the resilience and operational improvements that businesses have achieved through digital investments remain paramount. Although Canadian small business owners have a strong sense of optimism, the future is not without worries. The survey found that rising costs and inflation are major concerns for businesses of all sizes, and that supply chain shortages and shipping and delivery delays continue to plague many businesses.
Amid these lingering economic uncertainties, some companies are doubling down on their digital investments: 22% of companies with fewer than 10 employees said they were investing in automation and related technologies, and 20% went completely digital.
Unfortunately, cost containment can be a barrier when it comes to entering the digital realm. Among 37% of small businesses surveyed, perceived high costs were cited as the top challenge to adopting an online presence. And, nearly one in four cite unfamiliarity with the process of going online or lack of knowledge as barriers. This underscores that for many Canadian small businesses, access to cost-effective, user-friendly and easy-to-maintain digital tools is beyond nice to have – they are essential for businesses to survive challenges, to thrive during a pandemic. , dealing with inflation or a myriad of other potential issues that may arise.
Understanding these challenges, GoDaddy Website Builder provides an easy and affordable online solution to help Canadian small business owners thrive and grow their business. GoDaddy also offers free 24/7 customer service and support.
To learn more about how GoDaddy can empower your small business, visit godaddy.ca.