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PayPoint.net's Powering Small Business Britain report identifies shifts in enterprise and small business activity

Businesses that don’t keep up with the escalating trend towards e-commerce are doomed to fail as the internet takes an ever-greater share of global business, according to a new report published today. But, with nearly half of all small British businesses having no online strategy or presence, and nearly two-thirds losing out in the battle for web visibility, small business Britain is at risk of falling behind its international competitors.

Launched today, the Powering Small Business Britain report from online payment service provider PayPoint.net unearths a broad range of changes that are forecast for British entrepreneurship over the next five years.

PayPoint.net and YouGov surveyed over 800 UK small businesses about the critical business issues they face today. The findings provide a snapshot of business thinking and highlight a number of changes that have to take place as the UK economy emerges from recession.

The report’s key findings are:

  • 35% of small businesses across all sectors see the majority of their revenues coming from online income over the next five years
  • 58% of survey respondents predict that the greatest growth in their turnover will be through online sales
  • Access to more customers is the top benefit to moving online for 59% of businesses
  • 36% of businesses have been able to grow through access to global markets as a result of trading online

In addition, the report identified a number of key themes in consumer behaviour that will affect entrepreneurism:

  • Open innovation with risk sharing partners will be the norm for start-ups and small businesses
  • Co-creation with core consumers to drive entrepreneurial thinking to deliver products consumers want and need
  • Use of cloud computing will dramatically increase for e-retail as greater fraud protection and increased security make this a reality

However, there are some issues identified by the small businesses surveyed. Surprisingly, 57% of the companies questioned felt that generating traffic and getting customers to their site was their greatest challenge.

Not having enough contact with customers to build a strong commercial relationship was cited as a barrier to business growth by nearly a third (31%) of respondents, though this can be offset with moves to bring customers into the development process. More predictably, the threat of fraud (33%) and the complication of keeping pace with regulatory change (22%) were highlighted as being especially challenging. PCI Compliance is a particular issue, as, having recently become regulated, the cost of non-compliance has risen considerably.

Looking forward, over a quarter (27%) of the businesses covered see e-commerce as the future for their business but have not yet made it central to their commercial activity. Meanwhile, 44% acknowledge the importance of online revenues but are still only at the early stages of developing an on and offline presence to maximise revenue opportunities.

As well as undertaking substantial research with YouGov, PayPoint.net has worked with IMRG to provide additional consumer insight into the e-retailing market, highlighting three exceptionally entrepreneurial companies which have overcome the many challenges of trading online to become best in class growing online businesses. Firebox.com, WAYN.com and UrbanIndustry.co.uk are all British success stories in the online world. With the assistance of PayPoint.net, these businesses have grown rapidly over the last few years and demonstrate the qualities that businesses will need to survive and thrive in the future.

Michael Norton, managing director of PayPoint.net, said:

“With the Powering Small Business Britain report, we have provided a valuable contribution to the enterprise debate in the UK. PayPoint.net has exceptional experience in providing the support, guidance and expertise to fledgling businesses in the UK. By understanding the challenges and opportunities facing today’s entrepreneurs, we are able to develop solutions that help enterprise in Britain.

“In the case studies we showcase in the report, we have shown how our online payment systems, coupled with exceptional entrepreneurs, have created strong sustainable businesses.”

David J Smith, Director of Operations at IMRG, added:

“We welcome Powering Small Business Britain from PayPoint.net. It adds an interesting new dimension to the discussions and debates we have with our members as we look at online businesses surviving and thriving in the UK. Clearly, the current economic conditions have had an adverse effect on business development in the UK. However, we are hopeful that this report shows that there is a very encouraging future for e-commerce in the UK.”

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For further press information please contact:

Tom Nutt/Lizzie Linton 020 7630 1411/07775 686 706
tnutt@thecommunicationgroup.co.uk
The Communication Group plc

Notes to Editors:

About PayPoint
PayPoint.net is a subsidiary of PayPoint plc, the leading cash and internet payments company in the UK, with operations also in Ireland and Romania.

  • PayPoint.net is a leading bank-independent online payment service provider which operates one of the most comprehensive, secure and reliable payment platforms in the UK. PayPoint.net offers organisations of every size a fast start to trading online, supported by powerful fraud management capabilities and leading-edge security features.
  • PayPoint plc handles over £9.3 billion from almost 550 million transactions annually for more than 6,000 clients and merchants.
  • The PayPoint branded retail network numbers nearly 22,600 terminals located in local shops (including Co-op, Spar, McColls, Costcutter, Sainsbury’s Local, One Stop, Londis and thousands of independents) in all parts of the UK and Ireland. Its terminals process gas and electricity meter prepayments, cash bill payments, mobile phone top-ups, transport tickets, London Congestion Charges, BBC TV licences and a wide variety of other payment types for most leading utilities, telecommunications suppliers and many consumer service companies
  • PayPoint operates an ATM network which has over 2,300 ‘LINK’ branded machines across the UK, typically in convenience stores;
  • PayPoint Romania, a branded national retail network of over 2,260 terminals located in local shops which process cash bill payments for all the major utilities and mobile top-ups and a further 3,500 terminals that process mobile top-ups only; and
  • Collect+ is a joint venture with Home Delivery Network Limited to provide a parcel collection and drop off service at its retailers.

PayPoint floated on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004 and the company’s market capitalisation at 27 September 2009 was £318 million. PayPoint is widely recognised for its leadership in prepayment systems, smart technology and consumer service.