Small businesses in Australia are increasingly falling behind due to their lack of involvement in digital tech. Reports suggest that these businesses are less likely to be making any revenue through online means and don’t offer online payment options to customers either.
With the announcement of the Federal Budget 2022, came several new policies that relieved various industries of their worries. Small businesses, specifically, can now claim 120% of what they spent on digital tech, such as web design, online payment portals, cybersecurity and cloud computing, as well as on training courses for employees.
The latest set of surveys conducted by CPA Australia, the Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey, reported an interesting link between the digital capabilities among smaller businesses and their growth. The survey was carried out during November and December of 2021 in Australia, New Zealand, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.
While some small businesses did manage to grow, though organic means or through grants provided by the government, there were still larger sections of this community that could not afford, weren’t using or investing in tools that could boost their revenue digitally.
Of the 510 small businesses that are registered in Australia, 44.7% of them reportedly made no revenue from online sales in 2021, while 40% of these businesses failed to offer digital payment options to their customers, as disclosed in the survey.
In the fast-paced and tech savvy world we live in, being ahead of trends and on top of digital technology is crucial if you’re looking to expand your business. Using social media platforms and promoting your products and services is known to bring in more revenue. Despite this fact, 36.7% of Australian small businesses revealed that they don’t make use of social media platforms for their businesses and were also found to be the least likely to invest in digital tools – with 35.1% having made zero investments in 2021.
What is the government doing to help?
According to the Federal Budget 2022-23 webpage, the Government is providing $1 billion as a Technology Investment Boost, that aims to encourage small businesses to go digital.
Businesses whose annual turnover is less than $50 million can now deduct a bonus 20% of the cost of expenses and other depreciating assets that support digital uptake. The boost will be applied to expenditure of up to $100,000 per year, until 30th June 2023.
Along with this, the Government has also introduced a Skills and Training Boost, through which small businesses can now access a new 20% bonus deduction for training courses that can be used for upskilling employees.
Tax rebates being brought in for smaller businesses aim to have them bring more money in that will allow them to invest better and smarter in their own businesses.
What sort of technology can your small business invest in?
The digital space is incredibly vast and diverse with an immense amount of options available, depending on how much you’re willing to invest. Technology massively helps small businesses promote and sell products, reach a wider audience, gain insights into consumer behaviour, and protect their assets. It’s time small business owners collectively decide against being hesitant towards investing in the latest tech, and the following list can possibly help clear out some confusion regarding it;
- Cloud computing
Moving your data and other business processes over to the cloud is extremely beneficial as it allows for easier sharing and collaborating among owners, partners and employees, as well as prevents employees from being tied to their desks in attempts of getting their work done.
Cloud computing brings several benefits to the table – increased security, decreased management costs, tremendous scalability and business continuity, to name a few. With several private and public cloud-based services available, there’s something for every business, keeping company size and budget in mind.
Possibly the easiest step to take when looking to take your business to the digital space. Whether it’s to display and sell your products/services or to simply, provide an insight into what your business does, websites do present themselves as a portfolio to potential clients. Remember, people won’t trust your business if your website doesn’t seem trustworthy enough – so, invest smartly in developers who can create a website people will want to visit and shop from.
3. Online payment portals
The availability of payment gateways in this era is without a doubt, an extremely important feature to have on your website. Payment gateways or payment portals are a software through which users can securely purchase a product or service that your business is selling. It’s a convenient option for both the consumer and the seller, making it such a popular and crucial feature to have on your site. However, since payment portals require customers to give their card details, it’s important to ensure you’re opting for a software that’s trustworthy and won’t lead to any frauds by investing in proper cybersecurity.
Since the world has gotten so technologically advanced, it’s given way to plenty of criminals looking to hack in systems and make easy money. And while this may seem like an overly cautious plan, it’s better to put your money in the right cybersecurity tools than to have confidential information regarding your business and your clients leaked or stolen.
One way you could prevent major losses from taking place though cybercrime is by deploying antivirus softwares. These do a great job at protecting your devices and systems from spyware, phishing, viruses and ransomware.
Hiring a company that provides cybersecurity services is of utmost importance in this regard. The right company will help navigate through threats, look for solutions and mitigate any future risks.
Educating your employees on do’s and don’ts has also proven to be beneficial. Many times, employees unknowingly give way to cybercriminals who then access your networks and initiate attacks. Simple mistakes such as losing work devices, sharing login credentials or opening links within fraudulent emails, can lead to viruses being deployed in the network. Luckily, the tax relief being provided by the government also covers any and all training courses that business owners may want for their employees – cybersecurity training for your employees will go a long way in keep your business safe in all aspects.