A new study of small business owners in Australia reveals they need digital marketing skills and improved financial literacy to manage and grow their business in FY2020.
The YouGov Galaxy research, commissioned by Prospa, Australia’s number one online lender to small business, shows 75% of small business owners are personally struggling with one or more areas of business management. 1 in 3 (35%) small business owners are struggling with digital marketing and 30% are struggling with finance, including tax, accounting and budgeting. 1 in 5 (22%) also singled out debt collection and managing overdue invoices as areas they need help with.
When asked which investments would have the biggest impact on their ability to manage and grow their business, a marketing campaign to engage customers was the most popular item on the list (26%), ahead of options such as hiring more staff (13%) and better equipment (14%).
The report also highlighted the flow on effects of wearing so many hats at once, with 90% of small business owners admitting they work long hours in order to manage the different aspects of their business. As a result of struggling with one or more aspects of their business, 1 in 4 small business owners (25%) experienced cash flow issues that brought them close to going out of business. Small business owners also lost opportunities to grow their business (34%), were forced to spend money on expert help (29%) and lost revenue or customers (27%).
Co-founder and joint CEO of Prospa, Beau Bertoli said:
“Being a small business owner is a tough but rewarding gig. 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. Having run a small business myself, I know how overwhelming this can be.
“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.
Ben Yusop, small business owner and Creative Director at Ben Yusop Design Studio, said:
“As a small business owner, I have to do everything myself. It’s crazy how much time it takes working on parts of the business that are outside my passion – design – but I do want to learn the skills. As a growing business, being visible and discoverable online is non-negotiable. I had to learn a lot from my own research about nailing SEO and creating a user-friendly website. I’ve tested out marketing strategies with Instagram, which is great because it’s so visual, but I’m keen to explore how platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Houzz can also help grow my business.”
Chair of the Small Business Digital Taskforce and founder and Chairman of Yellow Brick Road, Mark Bouris said:
“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% use social media. In an increasingly digital Australian economy, it’s vital we equip small businesses with the right skills to grow.”
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 Small Business Digital Taskforce Report to Government, March 2018, pg. 11