We may be arriving at yet another new “normal”—but for small, independent Canadian businesses, digital strategies born of the COVID-19 era are here to stay, a recent survey of small business owners reveals.
It’s not for fear of new lockdowns but rather the opportunities and improvements 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 made changes to their online presence during the pandemic and in turn feel optimistic that their business will grow in the next 12 months. Having experienced the benefits of an online presence over the past two years, many agree that ongoing attention to their websites is key to future success.
This latest pulse check on the sentiments of Canadian small business owners, comes two years after GoDaddy, the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs, polled business owners on changes they were making to maintain their businesses during COVID-19.
Prior to 2020 shutdowns, only about half of Canadian small businesses surveyed had a website or social media presence; in the early days of the pandemic, an additional one in four enterprises launched a social media profile or website to maintain operations and marketing. But at that time, just 37 per cent of business owners said they planned to preserve these online assets once they could physically reopen.
What a difference two years make
Since 2020, 64 per cent of the surveyed small businesses said they have made digital adaptations to support their business. This includes over 40 per cent of small business owners who made ecommerce specific transformations such as improving online tools, creating a new website, or increasing online business offerings. These digital investments are paying off: 42 per cent of owners credit their ecommerce presence in helping their business grow, even amid the pandemic.
That’s likely why GoDaddy’s latest survey shows that the number of small businesses that say their digital changes were only temporary, has dropped by a third.
In 2020, 18 per cent of business owners planned to discontinue the digital adaptations they’d made to ride out the pandemic. Today, only 12 per cent intend to roll back their online presence. Meanwhile, 41 per cent affirm their new online tools, and social media profiles are here to stay.
Online tools expected to help with ongoing challenges
Even as pandemic concerns ease, the resilience and operational improvements businesses have realized from digital investments remain paramount. While Canadian small business owners have a strong sense of optimism, the future isn’t worry-free. The poll found rising costs and inflation to be critical concerns for businesses of all sizes, and supply chain shortages and supplier and delivery delays continue to plague many companies.
Amid these continued economic uncertainties, some businesses are doubling down on digital investments: 22 per cent of companies with fewer than 10 employees said they are investing in automation and related technologies, and 20 per cent have shifted entirely online.
Unfortunately, cost containment can be a barrier when it comes to entering the digital realm. Among 37 per cent of small businesses polled, the perception of high costs were cited as the main challenge to adopting an online presence. And, nearly one in four cite unfamiliarity with the process of going online or lack of knowledge as obstacles. This underscores that for many Canadian small businesses, access to cost-efficient, user-friendly and easy-to-maintain digital tools are more than just nice to have—they’re essential for businesses to survive challenges whether it’s thriving during a pandemic, coping 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 businesses. GoDaddy also offers customer care and free support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To learn more about how GoDaddy can empower your small business, visit godaddy.ca.