Research by Xero has revealed the impact small businesses have at a local level with nearly nine in 10 Australian consumers (87 per cent ) agreeing that small businesses played an active role in shaping the culture of their local community.
‘The Next Chapter for Small Business
The global study of over 1000 small business owners and 1000 customers also found that 85 per cent of Australian consumers agreed that small businesses were essential to the global economy. While seven in 10 consumers said they felt proud of their local businesses and would be saddened if they closed.
Trent Innes, Managing Director at Xero Australia and Asia said small businesses have long been the beating heart of communities in Australia.
“This has never been more apparent than in recent times. The resilience of the small business sector has shone through this year, and it has been matched by a willingness and determination of communities to get behind them. As we chart a path to economic recovery, the resurgence of the small business sector will depend upon the same commitment from communities to champion their success,” he said.
Small businesses recognise the role they play
Similarly to consumers, Australian small businesses acknowledge how closely they are tied to the communities around them. Seven in 10 Australian small businesses (70%) agree that small businesses play an active role in shaping the culture of their local community, with the global average at 69 per cent.
Small business taking on big business with confidence
The research uncovers the unique value small businesses deliver to consumers, distinct from large enterprises, and that consumers depend on small businesses across all aspects of their lives. This provides confidence to small businesses, with nearly seven in 10 of Australian small businesses (67 per cent) believing they have a competitive advantage against large enterprises.
Drivers of consumer behaviour when interacting with small businesses
The main reason Australian consumers are purchasing from small businesses is that they want to contribute to their local community (42 per cent) ahead of more practical reasons of proximity (36 per cent) and access to consistent and high-quality products (27 per cent).
The pandemic has also shifted consumers’ expectations of small businesses, with increasing importance placed on empathy. The study shows 93 per cent of consumers would trust a business, buy more, and recommend it to friends and family if it demonstrated empathy toward them, other customers and the community. This could potentially include implementing special rules to protect customers’ health during COVID-19, staying open longer and offering delivery options.
“It is a critical time for small businesses around the world to focus on a few areas to improve their ability to survive. This research reveals the unique role they play in our communities as well as the variety of ways in which they can build resilience,” said Rachael Powell, Chief Customer Officer at Xero. “How these small businesses expand their capabilities, communicate with customers, adopt new technologies and get support will define their success while we continue to navigate with this pandemic.”
For more detailed information on ‘The Next Chapter for Small Business’, visit xero.com/the-next-chapter
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