Rural Firms Should Free Up Cash Flow and Embrace New Tech

13th March 2018.

Greater access to online tools and services in Britain’s rural regions could be worth as much as £26.4bn to the economy.

It would no surprise to hear that rural communities have a harder time gaining access to technology and digital tools. Their remote location, further distance from financial services, and limited access to emerging talent, all put them at odds with city slickers. Recent research conducted by Rural England and Scotland’s Rural College, and commissioned by Amazon, has found that rural businesses would see the “greatest returns” by embracing eCommerce, faster broadband and other digital services. The research estimated that the turnover for small and ‘micro’ businesses could increase to £9.4 billion a year.

Rural businesses have notoriously been hesitant to embrace new technology due to restricted access to training programmes and loyalty to traditional concepts. As the digital age continues, and consumers demand faster and easier methods, all businesses have to adapt. At the Credit Protection Association, our debt recovery services help business owners from across the country to free up cash flow. Many of our members use this extra cash to adapt to the digital customer, from renovating their offices and installing new technology, to offering additional services.

Technology has already started to improve operations at rural businesses, with 29 percent of respondents from the research reporting improved access to customers and suppliers after installing new technology.  A further one in four said digital adoption had improved data storage, security and flexibility at their company.

When asked of their biggest constraints, over half admitted skills-related obstacles had created barriers to growth, while one in five admitted they struggled to recruit staff with strong digital skills.

The biggest problem for rural businesses has been connectivity, with many firms unable to achieve adequate signal even once faster broadband has been installed.

Brian Wilson, chair of directors at Rural England said: “To help address these constraints and boost rural economic productivity, we believe there are some straightforward ‘quick wins’, which if delivered locally, nationally and UK-wide, could have a significant and positive impact on the quality of life for rural communities and the UK economy as a whole.”

Whether they are located in the most remote village or in the busiest London high street, small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. The competition between small and large business is already acute, and a further struggle between rural and urban should be discouraged. Rural communities do indeed have a friendlier climate for business, where fewer shopping malls and retail parks reduce the competition that London currently suffers. Technology remains a constant source of power, however, as our relationship with rival economies becomes critical as we approach the Brexit deadline. If we are to keep pace in the digital race, all our businesses need to have the same opportunities.

At the Credit Protection Association, we free up the cash flow for many business owners, from farmers to urbanites. Our debt recovery services award our members with extra cash, which can be put towards their savings, or on installing new technology. It is important that customers in the rural and urban areas have an equal chance of getting the services they want, and that businesses have a chance to compete.

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

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