Welsh businesses turned to digital during lockdown to find new ways of creating sales and maximising resources, but a new survey has uncovered an urgent need to provide them with support and confidence to help them fully recover post-pandemic.
The upcoming Digital Maturity Survey for Wales 2020 shows two-thirds of SMEs have worked from home since the pandemic struck, while a third minimised lost sales by switching to digital. But skills remain a concern, despite an increased uptake of webinars from support programmes such as Superfast Business Wales (SFBW).
SFBW Project Manager Howard Thompson says:
“firms have shown real intent in getting the digital knowledge they need to keep going. During lockdown, more businesses attended our events than last year, with over a third attending more than one, while some businesses even attended 12.
“Our business advisers have worked with businesses to consolidate and act on what they learn during webinars. We’ve listened to what they need, and we’re here to give them the skills and confidence to successfully navigate these uncertain times.”
Having provided over 5,400 hours of support since April, SFBW has seen a desire to adapt, particularly from businesses with no choice but to turn to digital. Some have used it to stabilise cashflow, while others see digital as a “spare pair of hands,” helping with essential tasks such as sales, bookings, and marketing.
One such business is Abergavenny Market Bakery – KD’s Bake House. Owner Lukasz Kowalski-Davies upskilled during lockdown to ready himself for the market reopening. The move online was successful: social media promotion helped increase sales by 20% and freed up his time, enabling Kowalski-Davies to bring back furloughed staff.
“Prior to SFBW support I didn’t know much about digital, but now I’ve got the confidence to build for the future,” he says.
Businesses who need support are encouraged to speak to SFBW. Thompson says:
“businesses are not alone. Our support extends beyond webinars: our business advisers will guide you through a digital roadmap to help you make sales, make more of your existing resources, and gain the confidence to face these challenges head on.”
To find out more and access free webinars and 1-1 digital advice visit the Superfast Business Wales website