Firms need to go virtual to grow, says report

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SMALL and medium sized firms in the south could be putting their future growth at risk by not embracing the internet.

According to a study by Lloyds Banking Group, more than a third of UK firms still do not have a website, and 20 per cent deliberately do not have a presence on the internet.

And firms in the south seem to be particularly resistant to trading online.

Only 27 per cent do a lot of online business, while 21 a termed as being ‘deliberately disconnected’ from the internet.

Mark Handscomb, area director for Lloyds TSB Commercial in Hampshire, said: ‘There is no avoiding the fact that the internet is part of everyday life and is an essential ingredient of business growth.

‘This research shows that many SMEs are still not embracing digital technology often because they don’t believe there are benefits to be had.

‘But it is clear that when businesses do go digital, the rewards come quickly.’

The SME Digitisation Report was published as part of Lloyds Banking Group’s partnership with Go ON UK.