It may seem like every business has a web site these days, but a recent survey shows most Canadian businesses don’t have a web site – and aren’t in a hurry to get one either.

A new survey of very small Canadian businesses (with five or fewer employees) sponsored by domain and web hosting company GoDaddy found that 59 per cent of small Canadian businesses don’t’ have a web site of any kind, and 41 per cent believed their business was to small to justify building one. While the Canadian tally for businesses without a digital shingle was in line with the global figure, 55 per cent worldwide said they planned to build one within the next two years, only 33 per cent of Canadian companies had a web site in their immediate future.

“While it might not seem alarming that Canadian very small businesses are generally less ambitious with their website plans than global firms, the research revealed that companies who have, or plan to build, a web site are more optimistic and ambitious than those who do not have one,” said Jill Schoolenberg, GoDaddy’s vice-president for Canada, in a statement. “Given that Canada is often referred to as a country of small businesses, this has potential implications for the national economy.”

Canadian companies with a web site on their two-year horizon certainly do seem more optimistic than their peers that did not. Some 83 per cent of small firms with web site plans were anticipating business growth of 10 per cent of better over the next three to five years, while 54 per cent of those with no web site plans were projecting neutral or even negative growth.

Key factors motivating companies to build a web site included increasing their local customer base at 45 per cent, helping to reach a national audience at 23 per cent, and growing internationally at 16 per cent. Newer businesses were the most likely to be going online, at 71 per cent of business three or fewer years old compared to 20 per cent of companies that have been around for four or more years.

Three-quarters of companies that already had a web site felt it gave them a competitive advantage over peers that weren’t online, and 54 per cent said they saw their business grow after launching their web sites.

“The results show that no business is too small to have a website. Building an online presence can lead to more ambitious business plans, higher growth and better customer outreach,” said Schoolenberg. “Given the potential benefits, it’s well worth the investment.”

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