Small business owners are feeling the pressure of wearing too many hats with a study revealing they need better financial literacy and improved digital marketing skills if they are to thrive and grow their business in the next financial year.
The You Gov Galaxy research commissioned by small business online lender Prospa showed three in four small business owners are struggling with one or more areas of business management.
Over a third (35 per cent) of small business owners are struggling with digital marketing and 30 per cent are struggling with finance, including tax, accounting and budgeting.
The result of juggling so many elements of running a business is resulting in small business fatigue. 90 per cent of small business owners admitted to working excessive hours in order to keep the many balls in the air.
A quarter of small business owners surveyed said they are experiencing cash flow issues, this is resulting in an inability to grown their business and a loss of opportunities for 34 per cent of small business owners.
Chair of the Small Business Digital Taskforce and founder and Chairman of Yellow Brick Road, Mark Bouris said small business owners who adopted digital tech could improve their outcomes.
“Adopting digital technologies doesn’t just improve productivity for small business owners, it can enhance customer engagement and open up new opportunities to increase revenue. Customers today expect to be able to interact with businesses of any size online, yet only half have a web presence and less than 40 per cent use social media. In an increasingly digital Australian economy, it’s vital we equip small businesses with the right skills to grow.”
When asked which investments would have the biggest impact on their ability to manage and grow their business, one in four small business owners placed hiring someone to manage their marketing campaigns and engage customers at the top of their list, ahead of options such as hiring more staff (13 per cent) and better equipment (14 per cent).
Co-founder and joint CEO of Prospa, Beau Bertoli said the report proved being a small business owner was a tough gig and he acknowledged how overwhelming it could be.
“They start out with a vision to be their own boss or follow their passion but need a wide range of skills to keep the business moving. Whether they’re a plumber or a retailer, small business owners need to understand social media, people management, regulations, accountancy, cash flow and debt collecting to be competitive.
“While small business owners are time-poor, there are ways to build skills and confidence in these areas. At Prospa we provide tools and educational resources to help. We offer funding solutions if investing in expert support is the direction they choose to go or if they need help with cash flow.,” Bertoli said.
 Small Business Digital Taskforce Report to Government, March 2018, pg. 11