According to a report (PDF) commissioned by Google and conducted by the consulting firm Deloitte, small businesses with the highest utilization of digital tools (or “digital engagement”) create more jobs and grow faster than those with lower levels of utilization.
Four Levels of Small Business Digital Engagement
Of the 2,000 small businesses surveyed, the percentage of respondents displayed these four levels of digital engagement.
20% | BASIC level of digital engagement
Relatively undeveloped digital presence, using only basic tools such as an email address, with no website or social media presence.
30% | INTERMEDIATE level of digital engagement
Businesses with digital tools such as a simple website that make use of basic online marketing tools, online directories or third party marketplaces.
30% | HIGH level of digital engagement
Have tools like a more advanced website, such as one with mobile or e-commerce capabilities, and is engaged with multiple social media and online marketing channels
20% | ADVANCED level of digital engagement
Utilize more sophisticated digital tools such as data analytics and mobile apps.
Success metrics of the top 20% most digitally advanced U.S. small businesses
2X | Earned 2 times as much revenue per employee
4X | Experienced revenue growth over the previous year that was nearly 4 times as high
3X | Were almost 3 times as likely to be creating jobs over the previous year
6X | Employment growth rate that was more than 6 times as high
3X | Were 3 times as likely to have exported goods internationally the previous year
About the research
The report explored the channels through which digital engagement drives greater revenue and jobs growth, acknowledging that small businesses with higher growth also have greater capabilities to invest in using digital tools. The analysis found that businesses with increased digital engagement also have higher levels of exports, customer diversification, innovation and inquiries across the sales funnel. These benefits illustrate how small businesses are able to use technology to create opportunities to grow through new markets and products.