Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson highlight why more Aussies are flocking to support Australian Made and how your business can benefit.
It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for small businesses over the past month. The highs felt at the beginning of the month with the Budget measures designed to boost small businesses, have been met with a new low, as another lockdown in Victoria was announced.
To me, it really highlights how a greater degree of predictability regarding the support for small business and family enterprises in the event of various lockdown scenarios would help in navigating and adapting to these challenging times.
In the meantime, small business owners who are struggling to cope with the stress of this latest wave of restrictions are encouraged to reach out for help. Visiting our My Business Health web portal or registering for Beyond Blue’s free New Access for Small Business Owners program is an excellent start. Remember you don’t have to go it alone. Help is available if you need it.
Let’s get behind the buy local movement
In times like these, it really is a great idea to embrace the ‘Buy Local’ philosophy. This was the key message of Australian Made Week .
Small and family businesses have certainly seen the benefits of more shoppers looking for Australian Made products, since the beginning of the pandemic. In fact, new research reveals 93% of Aussies prefer to buy product made here.
It’s incredible to think if every household spent an extra $10 per week on Australian Made products, this would add an additional $5 billion to our economy over the year and create 11,000 new jobs.
From the small business perspective, this highlights the importance of staying connected to customers – even more so in times of isolation, such as those impacted by lockdown in Victoria.
We know that many small businesses have already adopted better use of mobile and internet technologies as a result of the pandemic.
Being digitally engaged has been very important for businesses, particularly those in rural and regional areas.
MYOB research tells us that SMEs with advanced levels of digital engagement are 50 per cent more likely to grow revenue and earn 60 per cent more revenue per person.
Digital adoption is the key to growth
Greater digital adoption by SMEs would result in a $10 billion boost to the economy.
So what’s stopping small businesses from becoming more digitised? According to a new report from MYOB 24 per cent of SMEs are worried new technology is too expensive and a further 24 per cent say they don’t have time to set it up.
Even a few minutes per week, guarding your business from being one of the 62 per cent of small businesses that have experienced a cybersecurity incident by applying the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s practical advice is scarce time well spent.
But it’s worth noting that of the businesses that digitised during the pandemic, 39 per cent found themselves to be more productive and 34 per cent were more profitable. A whopping 85 per cent of small business owners say they used digital tools to keep their business running.
Certainly, consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of buying from a local small business – including the one that involves an actual person doing a happy dance.
Consumers want more access to local businesses online
New research by the Commonwealth Bank shows more Australians are choosing to shop locally, supporting local online retailers and manufacturers as well as suburban shopping centres and neighbourhood stores. This is across a range of categories including recreational goods (59 per cent), fashion (58 per cent), electronics (55 per cent) and groceries (53 per cent). Nearly two-thirds of Aussie consumers say local businesses have done a great job of adapting to the disruption caused by the pandemic.
But a separate survey of more than 1,000 Australians by NBN Co, found that more than two-thirds of respondents said that although they wanted to support local businesses, they were restricted by the limited online presence.
Clearly, it is time to ensure your business model is up-to-date. That includes everything from having an e-commerce functional website to targeting your customers through social media.
As Charles Darwin said – it’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent… It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
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