As a small business owner you might believe in just letting the quality of your work speak for itself. Of course, an excellent product or professional workmanship is critical, but it isn’t enough to ensure business growth alone.
Put simply, if you want your years of hard work and countless dollars of investment to continue to flourish, you need to be evolving across the board, says GM of Small Business Banking at ANZ, Kate Gibson. With a mission to help SMEs startup and grow, ANZ has launched the ‘Business Ready’ initiative: a $2 Billion Lending Pledge and the Business Ready Tool, which has been developed in collaboration with online management startup Honcho.
“What we were hearing from customers, and seeing from the market research, was that some SMEs found it a challenge to access finance, particularly in the first couple of years of operation. There was a perception that if you’re in the early stages of growth and you don’t have a house to put up as security, the bank does not want to lend money to you,” she says.
The $2 billion Lending Pledge is designed to help these new small businesses get off the ground and grow.
“Through our work with small businesses we’ve talked to many companies about their challenges in setting up or growing. While they get really excited about what they’re doing, most have found the steps involved in setting up a company complex and time consuming,” says Gibson.
The Business Ready Tool is designed with these challenges in mind, all with the view of supporting businesses to start and grow, explains Honcho Managing Director Matthew Abrahams. It takes you through the entire setup process, from registering your ABN, business name registration and domain name, to setting up a bank account and invoicing.
“You get a dashboard view so you can see how your business is performing, you can store documents securely, and set reminders when things like business registrations and BAS statements are due,” he says.
When it comes to growth, SMEs should frequently review key aspects of their business to keep abreast of industry changes and customer expectations. This could include creating or updating a website, assessing whether you have the right systems to accept payments, or looking for efficient ways to manage the administrative elements of the business, says Gibson.
“There are so many companies that have been running happily for ten or 20 years and are used to getting new customers through word of mouth,” says Gibson. “But these days consumers search for products and services online. If you don’t have even a basic website then you’re missing out on customers.”
This can be daunting if you’re not technically minded, or have concerns about spending too much on outsourcing to a developer.
For those who are not web savvy, Abraham says the Business Ready Tool can set up a business website for you allowing you to load a logo, your business name, a contact form, and embed a Google map so you can start promoting your business online.
“We’ve started more than 200,000 businesses in Australia. From that experience we’ve been able to garner what they need to be set up for success.”
Written by: Thea Christie
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