Aussie entrepreneurs take on digital transformation in the ‘new new’

How are Australian small businesses feeling about 2022? Optimistic, sceptical, scared or indifferent? How can they move past survival mode and into thriving mode? These are the question many businesses are considering as a new year dawns. Fortunately, despite rising COVID case numbers, there is some good news – Aussie entrepreneurs and small businesses are feeling pretty good about 2022, according to GoDaddy’s ‘Entrepreneurial Pulse’ research.

Encouraged by their newly found digital skills, business owners are eager to expand their online presence by upgrading their website or incorporating a new online store. While business owners are generally feeling positive, they reported some angst around possible new lockdowns and the fear of increased competition. Here are some key findings from the research and what they mean for small businesses in 2022.

A positive sign of business recovery

After surveying more than one thousand Aussie small businesses across a wide range of industries, there’s plenty to be optimistic about. Overall, we can take a big lesson on resilience from small businesses and their ability to swiftly reinvent themselves. Almost two-thirds of small businesses reported feeling optimistic about the year ahead, and nearly half are no longer feeling the financial impacts of the pandemic.

Most of us know that small businesses have always been resilient. This time, the optimism is driven by their newly acquired digital skills, with more than half feeling more confident and empowered due to their learnings during the global pandemic so far.

Taking advantage of deeper digital capabilities

While bricks-and-mortar businesses won’t be going anywhere soon, only one in ten respondents are looking to invest in their office or retail space in 2022. Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) surveyed said an online presence is either “more, or much more, important than a bricks-and-mortar store” today.

Given the impact of lockdowns and reduced foot traffic, Aussie entrepreneurs turned to new sales channels to overcome the shortfall and stay connected with customers. On average, an online presence is now responsible for over half (53 per cent) of a small business’s annual revenue. For 23 per cent of respondents, their entire business revenue now comes from online sales.

To not only survive but find new ways to grow and evolve their businesses, they added a wide range of digital functionalities to their website. Some of the most common included social media integrations, shipping and delivery services and an eCommerce page or online store.

Seizing online opportunities in 2022

It’s important to continue the momentum, so for 2022 the focus for many respondents will be investing in an ecommerce website, enhancing their existing products or services, or developing new ones. Their online presence will be crucial. In fact, almost half (46 per cent) believe their business couldn’t succeed without a website.

Staff shortages have become one of the defining themes in the business community today. To help future-proof themselves, almost a third of business owners said they are looking to upskill their team in non-technical areas such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, time management and critical thinking.                               

While business owners feel excited to welcome the new year, there are concerns. The fear of more lockdowns (30 per cent of survey respondents) and increased competition (27 per cent of survey respondents) are the most significant challenges anticipated to their business in 2022.

Despite these challenges, our digitally savvy small-business community are optimistic, innovative, and eager to seize the opportunity of the ‘new new’. With their newfound digital skills as their foundation, they’ll prove in 2022 that there’s nothing ‘small’ about small businesses.