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New year, new business: three tips for small business in 2021

- January 21, 2021 3 MIN READ
business tips 2021

2020 turned the world upside down, but the new year is a great time to hit refresh. What can we learn from one of the most challenging years in recent memory to harness for commercial success in 2021? asks Neil Luo VP, Global Head of SME at Airwallex.

 Partner up

A strategic partnership is a collaboration between two businesses, coming together to leverage one another’s strengths for mutual benefit.

There’s no one-size-fits-all to forming partnerships but any alliance should enhance your end product or service, help build your competitive edge, or increase the amount of people you can reach.

Strategic partnerships are also a powerful catalyst for industry innovation. While you might not be able to partner up with a major player, 2020 highlighted that distance is not a barrier to creating successful partnerships. Our global economy means we can partner with anyone in the world.

For Airwallex, partnerships have been extremely valuable in helping our business increase its global exposure and create products that will fulfil new customer needs. Our partnerships with the likes of Visa and Xero have combined their network with our payments and finance, opening Airwallex up to new audiences while also enhancing our offering.

When looking to recruit a partner, identify where your business could do with greater support, insight or access, and then find a partner in that space who could benefit from what you can offer. Choose a partner wisely – the best collaborations provide reciprocal benefits.

The world is your oyster

Is growing your business into other markets one of your top priorities for 2021? It should be!

If your business has the potential to work on a global scale, it has never been a better time than now to set up shop overseas.

At Airwallex, we’ve long predicted a major shift in the way businesses operate from offline to online. The pandemic accelerated the change in a way no one saw coming. The number of digital and global businesses has been growing year upon year, but it’s fair to say there was an increase in digital adoption in 2020.

Access to global customers has never been easier so it’s important to take advantage of other markets. Before going global, it’s important to assess the scalability of your business and research the market you’re looking to enter and ask yourself; where are the gaps? Who are the competitors in that market? And where can your product or service add value?.

Be ready for a post-COVID world (whatever that may look like!)

Although the current business environment is still uncertain, it’s important to start planning for a post-COVID world. The rapid digital transformation we’ve seen over the last year is only the beginning. A recent survey from IDC predicts that SMBs will increase their IT spending in 2021 despite being in “survival mode”. A clear strategy underpinned by a modern tech stack will help your business mitigate unforeseen market challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.

For businesses planning to return to the office, consider your teams’ preferences and the routine and environment that would work best for their productivity. In most cases, striking a balance between office and remote working is key, as it allows for a balance of team collaboration (office) and individual concentration-time (home). A rotating schedule can be a helpful way to ensure your employees have this flexibility.

The post-COVID world has also created opportunities for cost-savings in marketing. While the pandemic reduced audiences for out-of-home advertising last year, its relevance is bouncing back with the recent lifting of government restrictions. There is a huge opportunity here for SMBs to purchase distressed inventory at a fraction of the usual cost.

As part of your new year’s resolutions, consider the technology needed to grow your business, realise where strategic partnerships could help you meet your business goals, and finally recognise if your company has potential outside Australia and can go global.

What are the untapped opportunities that could change your businesses for the better in 2021? The tide is turning, small businesses get ready to ride the wave!

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