Consumer behaviour changed during the pandemic — and there is no going back. SMEs now operate in a world where digital is not only essential but the preferred channel of many customers.
It’s no secret small businesses are the lifeblood of the Australian economy, and many struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic.
With tax deductions for employee training and digital technologies announced in the 2022 federal budget, small business owners will find some relief in the support provided to help make their business resilient and sustainable.
However, Vista’s Small Business Recovery Report reveals that one in three (32%) Australian small business owners struggle with marketing, and one in five struggle with IT, websites and digital services (18%).
One-off cash injections are stop-gap measures, and not a long term solution. The announced tax deductions help fast track learnings so small businesses can learn how to attract and retain customers in the digital realm.
It’s not only about investing in digital skills. One group that did miss out in the budget was Australia’s budding entrepreneurs. Investment in incentives to encourage emerging entrepreneurs and startups — particularly digitally savvy younger generations — should have also been top of priority list for the major parties.
Opportunity is born from adversity. The biggest opportunity for Australia’s small businesses is a digital-led recovery. The initiatives outlined in the government’s budget will see the sector recover but now is the time for the private sector to step in to support to see the community thrive.
By Lucy Ng, SBC Writer