Each year SmartCompany conducts a Reader Survey to check in and see how the small business community is tracking. Even more so in 2020, we wanted to take stock of our readers’ wants and needs.
We’ve created an eBook as a guide to our Reader Survey results. This eBook will cover some of the biggest trends and challenges for small businesses this year, alongside some predictions for how to make the most of 2021.
Read on for a sneak peak of what we learned from the survey.
Growth over exit: SMEs remain optimistic and resolute
Our Reader Survey found that overall, most small business owners’ post-COVID strategy is centred around growth, not exit (63%).
Judo Bank’s Chief Relationship Officer Frank Versace says businesses are right to be hopeful about 2021.
“It’s still going to be volatile, there’s still lots of uncertainty around, but there’s plenty of cause for optimism”, says Versace.
61% of business owners who responded to our Reader Survey experienced revenue loss due to COVID-19 this year, so Versace says it’s important to plan thoroughly and be flexible when it comes to the next year.
Our readers know what they want from their business bank. 58% are looking for a bank where they can speak with a person and 49% are looking for a bank that understands their business.
Judo Bank’s Frank Versace says businesses should strive for an honest, ongoing relationship with their banker as the key to successful financial outcomes.
Social media and content marketing is a priority for SMEs
Social media use is skyrocketing this year, with a typical user spending up to an impressive 15% of their waking life using social platforms.
Our Reader Survey revealed that small businesses are following potential customers into the social sphere. 60% of our readers are making social media priority in their marketing plans, while 30% are focussing on content marketing.
These figures reflect the global trend toward embracing the business side of social media.
2020 has seen TikTok, which has a vibrant small business marketing community, achieve rapid growth in Australia.
Instagram has also focused on business users this year by moving their shop tab onto the app’s home screen, encouraging SMEs to push more energy into the platform.
Getting with the times: SMEs want to learn about new technologies
According to our Reader Survey, many readers come to SmartCompany with an appetite for knowledge about new technology, which makes sense given that 2020 has transformed the way we use technology in the workplace.
Lockdowns and border closures have prompted a major acceleration in digital adoption for SMEs.
30% of readers we surveyed said they were planning to invest in systems for remote access and 28% planned to invest in cloud-based software.
Video call platforms like Zoom have fundamentally changed the way we meet with colleagues and experts predict that remote working arrangements may become the new normal.
Shedding light on the importance of e-commerce and digital innovation
The results of our Reader Survey revealed that many of our readers feel ambivalent about e-commerce. 40% said that e-commerce doesn’t apply to their business and 22% said they needed help integrating e-commerce.
We were surprised, because COVID-19 has caused customers to flock towards e-commerce.
Australia Post says e-commerce was up 80% year-on-year in the 2 months after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
A staggering 5.2 million Australian households shopped online in April 2020 alone.
On the bright side, this trend presents almost every business with an unprecedented opportunity to find creative and profitable ways to integrate e-commerce in 2021.
Judo Bank is a challenger business bank, purposefully built to make it easier for Australian businesses to get the funding they need and the service they deserve.