”Improved digital connectivity is driving business growth”
According to a recent study by Xero, there are 2.23 million small and medium enterprises in Australia and roughly half are connected to the national broadband network, but that figure grows every day. This 2.23 million SMEs make up 99.8 percent of all business and employ 68 percent of all Australians.
The implications are profound. Among businesses studied, those in mature nbn regions (where nbn has been available for an extended period or available for a high percentage of premises) employment grew by one-third more and revenue increased by almost two-thirds more, when compared to non-nbn regions. Business growth and digital connectivity go hand in hand.
With this in mind, whether the nbn is on its way to you or already available, thinking about the benefits to your business is something to do today.
Cloud-based apps help your business reach the sky
As digital connectivity increases, people’s digital behaviour changes. And there has been no more significant change than in the rise of cloud-based applications. The benefit of cloud-based apps is that, rather than using the business’s physical location, customer and software data is stored on secure remote servers. This promotes mobility, the ability to access data from anywhere and, equally importantly, these apps let your business automate many time-hungry processes.
On average a person running a business has to be across 50-70 tasks to keep things humming along. Making these processes – like POS, rostering, time-tracking, bookkeeping, job scheduling, invoicing – close, or closer, to automated might mean fewer long nights and more holidays or time with family. The evidence also supports a positive correlation between cloud-based app use and increased revenue, too.
Staying local, while going global: reaching new markets
Only a generation ago small businesses were confined by geography – the corner florist sold to the local area, and that was it – but those days are behind us. A local florist might make five more sales, thanks to their e-commerce, while out on the road delivering flowers locally. A tech company in Wollongong can now service clients or customers up and down the Eastern seaboard and overseas. The nbn is enabling numerous businesses in regional areas to work better online.
Once a big jump from regional Australia to the world, the nbn is making it smaller. With the growing demand for Australian products from markets like China, Australian SMBs can, thanks to online selling platforms and improved connectivity, reach markets far and wide.
The benefits of bandwidth
With geographical barriers removed, the way we do business has changed forever. A business can be based in a regional area but employ staff in a capital city. The nbn, thanks to its ability to handle bandwidth-intensive tasks, offers the ability to share large files that would ordinarily require a physical, in-person transaction to take place, either with a disk drive or by working together.
Similarly, with the right set-up, video conferencing can equal an in-person face-to-face meeting – something no one could say until recently. The potential benefits aren’t immediately obvious, but reduced costs like travel and overheads are just a start.
Ramping up your e-commerce
Online retail is an incredibly competitive space that continues to grow year-on-year and shows no signs of slowing down. With advancements in technology – led by nbn connectivity – there’s every chance that this rate may exponentially speed up.
If your business is in retail or the online delivery of a service or digital product, you’ll enjoy doing business while the front doors of your store are locked tight. Your open hours won’t be 9am-5pm, they’ll be 24/7. And, depending on what you sell, but especially if it’s a digital product, scaling up might be easier than ever before.
What SMBs can do today
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the nbn can mean for your business. There are things to do now while you’re in the process of adopting these new technologies: learn from successful peers or even competitors, and use apps to get on top of pain points (like late-night paperwork, as one example) and move toward further digital connectivity – don’t try and do it all at once.