Australian small business spurred by sparks of resilience

Almost one in six small-business owners in Australia started their own business after experiencing difficulty finding full time employment due to barriers such as language, age, disability and skills. Setbacks due to these factors are disappointing to hear about. But what really strikes me about this data are the resourcefulness and resilience of Australians in the face of challenges. When job prospects are tough, Australians are creating their own opportunities by starting a small business.

Crucially, it’s never been easier to do that with the support and tools now available. Results like these only go to show why it’s so important that industries and innovators across the country continue to use their talents and technological skills support such new business ventures.

Sparking the Australian economy

The statistic is one of the top-line insights from the Xero Small Sparks survey, which polled over 340 businesses across Australia and New Zealand to identify the key factors that drive people to go out on their own.

The survey exists to uncover what the small sparks of inspiration look like up close when you choose to start a business. The idea to start a business doesn’t always come from a lightening bolt moment of clarity – it can come from a series of gentle nudges, nuances and, often, moments of adversity.

These are the kinds of drivers that impact our economy and the creation of new jobs within Australia, and it’s vital that they are uncovered, understood and supported.

The opportunity in adversity

Each one of those one-in-six businesses has a story. Take one small business owner using Xero, Leanne Preston. Leanne is the founder of WildChild, a company that works with scientifically validated pure, natural raw materials to formulate, develop and manufacture skin care and over the counter pharmaceuticals for the global marketplace.

“I didn’t have a formal education and had left school at age 15,” she said. “When my marriage broke up, my world fell apart. I ended up in a women’s refuge as a single, unemployed mother of three. I started my own business out of necessity, to create a job for myself.”

“I came up with a natural treatment for head lice after finding the treatment for my daughter’s nits contained poison. From there, I developed Australia’s first natural head lice treatment and today, 20 years on, Wild Child is sold in 50,000 stores globally.”

Stories like this, when layered alongside the nationwide findings of the Small Spark survey, serve to remind us that so much about business success is about fronting up to adversity – knowing the value of who you are and what you want to change, even if others around you don’t appear to being do anything to support it.

And it’s about having the tools to make ensure that nimble small business are empowered to make a difference.

That’s an inspiring message to anyone, whether you’re a small business or whether you are in a position to support them more. So what would you like to change?

Trent Innes, Managing Director, Xero Australia

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