Grow Your Small Business in the Internet Economy

May 29, 2012

Businesses in the U.S. with medium or high Internet presence expect to grow by 17% over the next 3 years.

A really interesting piece of research forecasting explosive growth in the Internet economy came out recently. It delivers a clear message to entrepreneurs: Get online if you want to reap the rewards of the new digital age. The Internet economy of the group of 20 largest industrialized nations is forecast to reach a staggering $4.2 trillion in 2016, nearly double its size in 2010. Around 3 billion people will be Internet users by 2016 – that’s around 45% of the world’s population. This trend offers small businesses and other companies a fantastic growth opportunity when both the U.S. and global economies are still faltering. By 2016, China will have nearly 800 million Internet users – roughly the same number as the users in France, Germany, India, Japan, the UK and the U.S. combined. But firms have to “go digital” to take full advantage of this major trend, says the report carried out by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

It’s not too late to embrace the web and build your small business brand online by building a quality website, participating in social media or engaging in online advertising. Businesses in the U.S. with medium or high Internet presence expect to grow by 17% over the next three years, much more than the 12% growth forecast for other companies. But to compete effectively in the new digital economy, firms need to set up new web-based businesses and develop new capabilities. If you’re a web designer or IT consultant then it’s a great time right now to be in business. But the stakes are much higher. If a client suffers a security breach as a result of work you have done on their systems, they could come after you for damages, so you’re taking a risk operating without the right professional liability insurance. If you’re a small firm you can control your cyber risks by taking commonsense precautions, but as your web business really takes off these risks will grow. That’s the time to start thinking about buying specialist cyber liability insurance. Hiscox offers cyber security protection insurance as a standalone policy to mid-sized firms with less than around 500 employees. It doesn’t only cover a firm’s website or electronic data, but protects all its sensitive information. That’s because all your secrets are vulnerable if a hacker breaks into your systems. Clients really appreciate that our experts take a “deep dive” into their safety protocols to see how good they are. It reassures them to have an outside specialist’s stamp of approval. That’s really important these days considering the average cost of a cyber insurance claim was $2.4 million, according to a recent study.