In response to the viral pandemic that’s turned the world on its head, the Australian Government has opened its purse strings to support businesses and individuals in a variety of different ways. Big-ticket items have so far included JobKeeper payments to help businesses retain employees, free childcare, rent assistance, and support for distance education.
Yet, despite this massive spending push, there’s one area yet to attract the attention of our lawmakers. It has the potential to support tens of thousands of small businesses and better position them for recovery once things are back to normal.
With restrictions and lockdowns in place across the country, it’s becoming increasingly clear that small businesses without an effective digital presence are struggling. If you’re unable to display your wares online or take orders and schedule deliveries via a mobile app, revenues are likely to have plunged.
This is where government support for small businesses should be focused. By providing funding for digital transformation activities, firms will receive a short-term boost as well as longer-term benefits.
Think about that local burger store you frequent because of its innovative menu. Or perhaps it’s a small, specialist bookstore that stocks niche items you can’t find anywhere else. Giving these businesses a digital transformation boost will enable them to compete on a much more level playing field with the likes of McDonald’s and Amazon.
As businesses strive to stay afloat and look forward to conditions improving, there are some practical ways in which the Australian Government could deliver digital assistance and support. They include:
It’s clear that government stimulus is going to be a vital part of the nation’s response to COVID-19. By ensuring that a portion of this money is directed to helping small businesses improve their digital presence and processes, both immediate and long-term benefits will result.
Once the nation moves through the pandemic and associated fiscal strife, the small businesses that power our economy will then be far better placed to kick back into full activity.
Tim Sheedy, Principal Advisor, Ecosystm