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Cardiff based entrepreneurs agree that a strategic approach to digital technologies can boost the growth of their businesses by connecting them with new customers they previously couldn’t reach, reveals Virgin Media Business.

The findings follow a live, interactive workshop attended by local business champions and key business stakeholders at the Cardiff Story in Cardiff.

Local business representatives also cited logistical challenges in implementing their ideas, identifying the right social platforms to engage with customers and a lack of time to invest into digital technologies as barriers to business growth.

The event was the final stop on Virgin Media Business’ Big Digital Skills Hub tour of four major cities across the UK, unearthing the true barriers to growth for the UK’s SMEs.

Small firms from a range of sectors, including healthcare, recruitment, not-for-profit and manufacturing, debated the technology challenges they’ve faced and explored how digital can help them achieve their business goals faster.

Central to the event was an energetic roundtable discussion focused on how SMEs can take advantage of the incredible opportunities the internet and technology offer, whether to attract new customers or enable more efficient ways of working. The top ideas pitched to the room included;

  • Making themselves heard – by communicating strategically on their social channels, businesses can cut through the existing noise and ensure they reach their customers
  • Identifying the right audience to engage with – focusing your digital efforts on the people that matter to your business
  • Getting content right – sharing a variety of content that’s of genuine interest to your customers, across the right channels for them

The tour comes after recent research by Virgin Media Business found that over a quarter of SMEs identified digital skills training, website development and technology as an essential part of their future investment.

Jane Lily-Veli, Pinkspiration, said: “Digital technologies are an essential but often overlooked part of any successful business. By embracing their potential, entrepreneurs can actively support the growth of their own business and discover new ways to expand their customer base.

“Events such as this highlight that the time invested in developing these skills is so minimal in comparison to the huge benefits digital technologies hold for Britain’s businesses.

During the event, participants were also given the chance to test-drive the Big Digital Skills Hub – the new, free online learning platform launched by Virgin Media Business last month.

”Small and Medium Enterprises are the lifeblood of the UK’s economy and technology can help accelerate their success. Despite this, our recent research found that there’s a potential £3.8bn untapped by SMEs who don’t fully use the technology available to them. We want to help change that.said Mike Smith, SMB Director at Virgin Media Business.

”Through this tour, we aim to help Cardiff businesses to cross the digital divide and seize the opportunities that digital could give them. Whether it’s through sharing best practice or using learning platforms such as The Big Digital Skills Hub, with the right skills businesses will be able to take advantage of the opportunity digital provides and become leaders in their respective industries.“

The Digital Skills Hub is open and free to all, with registration open on: http://learndigitalskills.co.uk/tour and the digital tutorials available on www.learndigitalskills.co.uk.

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