Although it was barely a concept just a few decades ago, the internet has enjoyed explosive growth over the years to become practically a necessity in modern-day life, for both individuals and businesses.
In the corporate sphere, it's not just big companies that should be active in its use of the internet, maintaining a social media presence for example. In fact, there is more of an onus on small business owners to leverage this tool and make it work for their growing organisation.
This was a point recently raised by Kate Carnell, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
"It is no secret that small business owners don't have the time or the resources to learn the ins-and-outs of using the internet to its fullest extent, but it is the low hanging fruit when it comes to promoting a business and connecting with clients around the world that are in the market for what the business offers," she said in a July 30 statement.
She added that just as it was unthinkable for a business 10 years ago not to have a landline, it is crucial that companies today maintain some sort of presence online. The ACCI cited research from Deloitte Access Economics - which shows that small businesses that use the internet for "high digital engagement" can enjoy up to a 20 per cent increase in revenue - to hammer home the point.
Additionally, the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that the proportion of businesses with a web presence has increased steadily in recent years - from 43.1 per cent in 2010-11 to 47.2 in 2012-13. This suggests that with a great number of businesses still not fully leveraging the internet, those who do will find that they hold a competitive advantage.