What the Federal Budget can mean for small business tech innovation

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The Federal Budget’s in, and its focus is well and truly on small businesses. One way to take advantage of these small business sweeteners is to use them on digital technologies that can help your small business grow and innovate. Better use of mobile and digital technologies could help increase annual revenues for small businesses by up to 20 percent, enabling major improvements to sales channels, customer service, and overall efficiency. The Federal Budget gives SMBs a number of opportunities to go beyond just “business as usual” and embrace digital for benefits that go far beyond the fiscal year.

Here are three main ones:

Reinvesting tax breaks in e-commerce

Under the Budget, small incorporated businesses with less than $10 million in annual turnover will see their tax rates drop by up to 2.5 percent, while sole traders and contractors will get up to 8 percent in discounts on their income tax if their turnover is less than $5 million. The Government’s plan is to further reduce corporate taxes down to 25 percent, meaning further savings over at least the next few years.

What can SMBs do with the additional liquidity? One of the best options is to invest it in building an e-commerce presence. Doing so is simpler than ever, thanks to increasingly user-friendly packaged online tools and solutions.  For businesses with primary local customers concentrated in one region, e-commerce offers a way to not only expand into other local states and territories, but also into global markets – all without heavy capital expenses. And for those who already generate revenues overseas, e-commerce can render foreign sales more cost-efficient by reducing reliance on physical stores or manpower overseas. With the Aussie dollar expected to continue rising – bringing the cost of Australian exports up with it – SMBs will need to stay lean if they want to go global, and e-commerce can help to trim extra operating costs.

Taking advantage of the $20k tax break

The Budget also extends last year’s “instant asset write-off”, which allows SMBs to immediately claim tax deductions on any asset purchases worth $20 000 or less. This offers SMB owners a new window of opportunity to invest in going digital: mobile devices, apps, and software are all typically eligible for the instant write-off. Investing in these tools – particularly mobile devices and cloud applications – can make your staff more productive, collaborative and flexible regardless of where they work.

Hire digitally-savvy interns

One of the relatively understated elements of the Budget is Youth Jobs PaTH, a skills initiative that helps young job seekers gain experience and job opportunities. Employers, for their part, receive upfront payments when they take on interns through PaTH, as well as up to $10,000 in wage subsidies if they eventually hire that intern.

PaTH is especially focused on building up IT and collaboration skills amongst young Australians – something which many small businesses often need but can’t necessarily afford. SMB owners should get involved with PaTH as a cost-effective way to bring in new talent, and to take advantage of its subsidies to help further advance their interns’ skills. This is perhaps one of the most promising ways to overcome the current skills shortage of coders and software developers faced by SMBs. It’s also an excellent way to bring in “digital native” perspectives into their businesses that can provide new ideas on how to get creative with digital technologies and open new markets, particularly amongst younger consumers both locally and globally.

The Federal Budget offers the cost reductions and skills support to help small businesses become more innovative with digital technology – whether it’s selling direct to overseas customers, developing new products, or creatively using new marketing channels. Now can be the perfect time to invest in digital for your small business. In the long term, that’s likely to be a far more profitable SMB strategy than simply doing more of the same.

Tara Commerford is the GoDaddy Country Manager, Australia and New Zealand

Photo credit: Google Australia Blogspot

Tara Commerford is the GoDaddy Country Manager, Australia and New Zealand