Flexible lifestyle top priority for Aussie SMEs

“Most Australians view starting their own business as a responsible lifestyle choice, not solely as a means for material wealth or status.”

New research from GoDaddy, the world’s largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses, has found that Australian small business owners and entrepreneurs prioritise a flexible lifestyle over revenue. The global study, conducted with Morar Consulting, including more than 500 respondents from Australia, investigated the current state of the local small-business community, outlining key traits and aspirations, the impact of technology and awareness of available support.

Many small businesses and entrepreneurs also feel that “smaller is better”, with half saying their ideal business size is five or less; while less than 20% consider overseas expansion to be an essential part of business success. Australian small business owners and entrepreneurs also value resilience and self-sufficiency in how they operate, with 44% of respondents indicating they would try again if their business failed.

Responding to a softer economic outlook, the study found that Aussies are less bullish on growth than their global counter parts: only 8% anticipate 50% growth in next three to five years.

“Most Australians view starting their own business as a responsible lifestyle choice, not solely as a means for material wealth or status,” said Tara Commerford, Country Manager, GoDaddy Australia and New Zealand.

“They are content to remain small, rather than adopting a more bullish approach to growth that we’re seeing in many other parts of the world. It is also good to see that Australian SMEs and future entrepreneurs are socially responsible. This pragmatic, well-principled approach ensures that Australia’s national economy grows in a sustainable way, without compromising the quality of life and values many Australians hold dear.”

Government Initiatives

The study also revealed the Australian SME and entrepreneur community are not taking full advantage of available government and industry support.  Only 15% of small businesses are utilising available government initiatives available today.

Similarly, more than half of SMEs and entrepreneurs were unaware of how the newly-introduced National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) could potentially impact their business.

“While their tenacity and resourcefulness serve Australian small businesses and entrepreneurs well, they don’t have to go it alone when it comes to maximising the potential of their business – they can better leverage the government initiatives put in place to help start-ups,” says Commerford.

“Australian small-business owners and entrepreneurs must also be careful not to limit their horizons as many resources exist to help them get their ideas off the ground and achieve continuous growth.”

Technology first approach

Technology is viewed as a key enabler in the development of growth of business; close to 70%% of Australians say technology has made it easier to become an entrepreneur, and demonstrated tech-savviness with a DIY approach to their technology management (keeping their website up and running). At the same time, nearly half of SME owners and entrepreneurs believe stronger tech infrastructure will shift our entrepreneurship culture forward.

The research also found that websites rank more highly (31%) than social media (18%), in terms of online tools are that are valued as critical platforms to drive online awareness.

“We also found that 41% of Australian businesses already use their domain names and websites as their primary sales channels, helping them to operate with greater control and flexibility – this could also be due to the prevalence of technology adoption in Australia,” concluded Commerford.  “Digital technology makes it easier and more cost-effective to extend any successful business idea to new markets without compromising on flexibility and maintaining the operating principles they value.”

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