Is your business taking full advantage of online resources and networking opportunities? A study by Sage UK and Ireland has revealed that nearly half of SMEs in the UK are missing out on potential growth by not making use of the rich supply of help available in the digital world. This business software and services provider believes small and medium enterprises can seek advice and guidance to help them on the road to prosperity by joining peer-to-peer support networks online – many of which are completely free.

The study of 500 small business owners and decision makers showed that 34% saw a decrease in turnover in 2013; some believing they could not afford to seek help. According to the figures, 48% do not use online forums or web communities such as LinkedIn at all. While 26% choose to speak to colleagues and peers offline as the first port of call, 23% look to the internet and 17% contact their accountant.

Businesses missing out

Lee Perkins, Managing Director of Sage UK and Ireland Start-up and Small Business Division, said: “There appears to be a disconnect between the value of peer-to-peer advice and the convenience of being able to go online – small businesses are really missing out as a result.”

In a bid to encourage companies to tap into online resources, the Sage Business Community has been created – an online portal where people can connect, share and help each other.

“You cannot underestimate the importance and value of sound business advice,” he added.

“With our vast network of customers it gives a huge pool of advice and talent, allowing people to share their knowledge and experience. With the economic picture looking ever brighter, businesses must have access to the best tools and resources when they need it in order to succeed.”