Friday, April 19, 2024

Small businesses embracing tech to drive growth

Aussie small businesses are overcoming stiff competition by getting tech savvy, according to a new global report.

It also found that, despite various challenges, the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector is in “good health” globally.

The State of Small Business Global Report comes from TradeGecko, in collaboration with Golfdale Consulting. TradeGecko describes itself as “a leading cloud-based commerce platform for growing companies”.

The report calls SMEs “the lifeblood of the global economy”. SMEs, the report claims, make up more than 95 per cent of all firms globally and 60-70 per cent of total employment. It polled 573 commerce businesses from 24 countries around the world, including 129 from Australia.

Globally, the picture is positive. More than 80 per cent of SMEs reported “maintaining or growing revenue” in 2018 despite stiff competition from global rivals.

‘Punching above their weight’

The report shows that agile small businesses are highly digitally savvy, leveraging social media and technology.

Globally, emerging SMEs (those with less than $1.38 million in sales) relied most on word of mouth to generate buzz about their products. The leading digital platforms were Facebook (74 per cent) and Instagram (43 per cent).

“Small businesses are punching above their weight when it comes to competing in the global market against large firms with big teams and big budgets,” CEO and co-founder of TradeGecko Cameron Priest said.

“That is certainly reflected in the findings for Australia. Social media and digital platforms are enabling SMEs to reach new audiences and to scale, but the competition is tough. Technology can help to level the playing field.”

Aussie SMEs ‘more tech savvy’ than in US

Australian SMEs are more tech savvy than their US counterparts, the report claims.

Nearly a quarter of US SMEs still use pen and paper to manage their inventories. By contrast, just 11 per of Australian SMEs do the same. Also, more than a fifth (22 per cent) of Aussie SMEs use technology in their inventory and order-management processes.

“Being a business founder means being a ‘Jack and Jill of all trades’,” Mr Priest said. “But as your business succeeds, you can leverage technology – not just to sell product, but to build scalable operational systems that will support future growth.

“Flexible online tools give SMEs the superpowers they need to compete with larger rivals. Ultimately, they free up business owners to do what they do best – build amazing businesses.”

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