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Businesses vow to get out more

Wednesday 16 January 2013 10:00

Small businesses have revealed that they want to network more in 2013 after spending too much time trapped behind their desks last year.

This is according to the results of a recent social survey by digital print business MOO.COM.

MOO asked its social communities on Facebook and Twitter what their biggest business barrier was over the last 12 months. Nearly two-thirds (61.5%) admitted that it was not having enough time to get out of the office and meet people face to face.

Respondents also said that facing distractions in the office (23%) and too many emails (15%) were also barriers to getting on with business in 2012

Looking to 2013, MOO asked its social community what changes they would like to implement in the next 12 months. More than half (56%) said they would like to spend more time meeting people and networking.

Given the potential business value of face to face networking – according to a survey of 152 business owners by MOO last year – this suggests that if business resolutions are kept this year, then 2013 is going to be a bright year for the small business community.

“It’s so easy to overlook the value of face to face networking in business today, but clearly our own community of users sees the importance of it and wants to do more of it,” according to MOO’s head of marketing Paul Lewis.

“Nothing quite beats looking someone straight in the eye – so our advice is to be confident, be sincere and leave a lasting impression. And remember, networking can happen anytime, anyplace, anywhere – the train, the pub or the gym – so keep some business cards on you at all times!”

MOO.COM interviewed 152 owners of small businesses in the UK about how they networked to help their ventures grow. They found that 42% believe if they were to hand out 100 business cards, it would generate £5,000 a year or more in revenue. Spread across the UK's 4.5 million small and medium-sized businesses it adds up to a  £9.45bn a year netted through personal contact in business.

The way that small businesses are able to build better connections with customers and understand the concept of relationship-building leading to more sales is echoed by Enterprise Nation’s recent predictions for small business trends in the UK over the next 12 months.

The community, which provides support for homegrown startups, asked its 75,000 members what they thought the New Year had in store for UK small businesses.

Five predictions were:

  • Small businesses will outsmart big businesses
  • Sales via online channels will enable international expansion
  • Squeezed budgets will force small businesses to prove value and return on investment
  • Mobile will change everything from payments to work styles
  • Small businesses will grow turnover, not headcount