MYOB’s latest Business Monitor survey of more than 1000 SMEs highlights the fact that businesses are tuned into the need for digital innovation and technological disrution, and are implementing technological strategies to help secure their future success.
The survey found 76 per cent had invested in technology as a means to innovate over the last 12 months, prioritising computer hardware or software, new machinery and up-skilling employees. I also reveals that 78 per cent of SMEs believe advancements in technology will impact their business in the next decade; 40 per cent of which expected a significant impact.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed said the results show the SME community is not frightened by the challenge of technological disruption.
“Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, cutting-edge technology investment. Small changes can deliver huge value to a business – whether that measure is time, money or an improved experience,” Reed said.
Innovation – how and why?
Additional MYOB research identified that the changing business landscape was an added reason to embrace innovation, with 57 per cent of SMEs believing large global businesses – such as Amazon, which is planning to set up shop is Australia – is also forcing change in the local market.
Reed said, “The Business Monitor research shows us that SMEs understand the technology evolution underway, and the need to incorporate innovation as a core component of their business, not just an added extra to address when cashflow allows. Pleasingly, we are seeing SMEs walk-the-walk. They’re not throwing their hands in the air with these challenges, they’re investing in the required innovation which can provide a competitive edge into the future.”
“One simple business innovation MYOB has seen first-hand is the migration from desktop accounting and embrace of online accounting solutions. Cloud accounting is becoming more automated to include bank feeds and bill capture, which improves efficiency and saves time.”
There are still significant barriers
The insights found 29 per cent of small-business owners thought the cost of introducing and developing innovation was the biggest barrier. Too much government regulation (26 per cent) and a lack of government support (25 per cent) were other blockages holding business back.
Creating an innovation-friendly environment could be a vote winner for politicians, with 53 per cent of SMEs saying they would vote for a party that continued to increase government funding for innovation, research and development by Australian businesses. Only 10 per cent said they would vote against such an initiative.
“These insights outline the importance of removing these barriers to business growth. The government needs to do as much as it can to encourage achievable innovation as it will lead to a vibrant small-business community,” Reed said.
The benefits of social media
The survey highlighted a spike in SMEs utilising the benefits of a social media for their business. While it was surprising that only 22 per cent of businesses have a social media presence, those using with one said it led to more enquiries and 54 per cent said it allowed more interaction with customers. Half of those surveyed on social media said it made doing business easier.
“We would encourage SMEs to continue to use innovative tools for their business and a social media presence is helping make life easier for many. Creating a social media presence and using it to interact with customers is a simple, innovative step that can help your business succeed,” Reed said.
“The survey also tells us that size is no barrier for using social media – 27 per cent of micro businesses have a business page of some kind, ahead of small, medium and sole traders.”
Inside Small Business