- Maintaining financial growth is the top challenge for Australian SMBs over the next two years
- Just 4 per cent of SMB leaders use artificial intelligence (AI) technology
- 63 per cent of women in business struggle to gain finance
Women are still finding it difficult to raise capital for their business ventures compared to men and millennials and Gen X are more likely to pursue a business with passion and purpose than a Boomer, according to the findings of the latest Salesforce Small & Medium Business Trends Report.
The report canvasses the opinions and experiences of over 2000 small and medium business owners from around the globe to reveal the challenges currently faced by the sector.
Key amongst the report’s findings were that access to capital is the top constraint on current business activity for women (but number two for men). That the drivers for starting a business vary from generation to generation and that the use of AI and machine learning is becoming of increasing importance to small business owners.
Capital raising is the major concern for most women in business with almost two thirds (63 per cent) reporting access to funding as the biggest obstacle they face.
Although most SMB leaders are driven individuals who wear many hats, the report found key differences in their experiences that are shaped by age and gender. Motivations for starting a business were different depending on age. Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to start a business so they can pursue an idea they’re passionate about, earn supplemental income through a side hustle, or escape a hostile work environment compared with Baby Boomers. Although all generations suggested the main driver for setting up their business was to be their own boss. Australian small business owners also cited flexibility and opportunity as their number two and three driving factors.
Men and women also had very different ideas when it came to be running a successful business.
42 per cent of women believed having an innovative mindset is most important for running a successful business while 45 per cent of men thought the willingness to take risks is the most important harbinger for success. Women also believed having money management skills is most important compared with men who say effectively using tools/technology is most important to achieve business success. Interestingly regardless of gender, 79 per cent of Baby Boomers said self-discipline was the most important element for business success.
When it comes to the challenges they expect to face in the coming year, Australian small business owners cited maintaining financial growth, meeting customer experience expectations and establishing/maintaining processes as their main obstacles.
Business owners of all ages and gender also agreed that keeping up with technology was a constant challenge. Currently, only four per cent of SMB leaders used a CRM yet those that did, rated it as their number two factor in attracting new customers.