SMEs that take advantage of mobile and internet technologies to help their business grow have the potential to tap into a potential $49.2 billion pool of economic benefits over the next decade.
The multi-billion dollar figure, outlined in the Small Business: Digital Growth report released yesterday by PwC and Google, is based on the estimated benefits to small businesses through current and future infrastructure projects budgeted for by the federal government.
The modelling shows while businesses across all regions of Australia are set to benefit, some have more to gain than others.
The report found rural and regional Australia stands to gain the most by tapping into the economic potential, with 53% of the infrastructure benefit thought to be outside Australia’s inner metropolitan areas.
As well as breaking down the potential economic benefits by state, the report also lists four key areas where small businesses can act to achieve gains using mobile and internet technologies, including improving business strategy and management, improving supply chains, improving sales and distribution channels and providing better customer experiences.
PwC economics partner Jeremy Thorpe said mobile-friendly websites and cloud-based services are just some of the methods small businesses can use to tap into digital growth.
“Despite Australia’s recognition as a nation of early adopters, our small businesses are not fully embracing the transformational benefits that mobile and internet technology has to offer,” Thorpe said.
“We’re advocating small business to take advantage of the tools that are already available, such as mobile friendly websites and cloud based services.”
Google Australia’s head of small business marketing Richard Flanagan said the research shows gains will be spread across Australia and are not just limited to urban small businesses.
“Small business is too big a part of our economy not to be cranking,” Flanagan said.
“The great news is that there is nearly $50 billion of economic value that Aussie small businesses can tap into, simply by making better use of existing technologies.”
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany small businesses are normally early adopters of technology but there are other factors affecting the uptake of technology in some places.
Strong says the rollout of the National Broadband Network and more reliable services would be a “motivator” for SMEs.
“There’s nothing worse than trying to upload plans you have when it takes three hours,” Strong says.
“Rural and regional Australia are not going to use internet and mobile technology when they are not available.
“If we could get the NBN out there quicker and improve efficiencies in the telecommunications sector, I think we’d get there much quicker.”