5 tips to becoming a successful SME business owner

June 22nd, 2020

Find out the best ways to navigate the current economy and make your business better than ever before.

Have the economic impacts of COVID-19 left you searching for new ways to not only keep your business above water, but make it even more successful than it was before?

As we move into a new financial year, the pressure to be successful has never felt so crucial for Australian small and medium businesses amidst Australia’s first recession since the early '90s, a direct result of the devastating summer bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force data for May saw the unemployment rate jump to 7.1% - an 18-year high - with 927,000 Australians unemployed. 

To look on the bright side though, the official employment data is known to be somewhat of a lagging indicator of the economy and business surveys are hinting that the worst of the job losses may now be behind us.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said, "This is the start of the recovery that we're seeing as the restrictions are eased, as a result of our country's success in flattening the curve." Let's hope he's right and more Australians can get back to work.

If your business has been struggling recently, you’re certainly not alone. Just by following a few simple tips you may be able to bounce back after COVID-19.

1. Learn to delegate

When you’ve built your own business from the ground up, it can be hard to let go of the reins and allow others to take the lead on things. However, it takes a great leader to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and to let go of tasks that they're simply not an expert on.

Take time to reassess your current role and workload and analyse what you do best. If there’s anything that doesn’t fall into your ‘best’ category, you ought to delegate it to someone else.

For example, if you’re looking to make a push online and don’t know where to begin with SEO, before you add ‘Learning SEO for dummies’ lectures to your already crowded plate, consider hiring someone else – even on a temporary contract – to help in this area.  

2. Adapt or sink

The COVID-19 restrictions saw many Australian businesses altering their model and strategy to accommodate for our “new normal”.

Whether it was pivoting to online-only sales or restaurants switching to a take-away-only service, there were many ways businesses were able to overcome hurdles through adaptation – big or small.

As restrictions begin to lift, it’s a perfect time to sit down and assess if:

  1. Any changes you made during COVID-19 were more profitable and worth keeping for the future; or
  2. If there are any adaptations you could make for the new financial year.

If you’re not sure where to begin, carve out time with your employees and brainstorm new ideas. Online-based companies will routinely have Hackathons, in which their programmers and development teams (including graphic designers, project managers, etc.) come together to collaborate on new projects for the company. See if there are elements of these collaborative challenges that you can do with your employees. 

You can never know where the next big idea for your business will come from, so always be open to new ideas.

3. Listen carefully

One of the best things you can do to make your business more successful is to get out of your own head and listen to what others say, whether they’re friends, family, experts or customers.

Whether you’re just drafting ideas for your business or have been running an SME for a few years, heeding the advice and notes of others can be invaluable in creating a stronger business model.

You should also never be afraid to reach out to other business owners for their advice and assistance. You’d be surprised by how much other business owners want you to succeed as much as you do.

4. Review your business management software

To start the next financial year on the right foot, you may want to take a look at your current business management software and ask yourself if it’s helping your business save time and effort or just creating more work.

If you’re not using accounting software such as Xero, MYOB or Quickbooks to streamline the accounts-side of your business, you may want to consider doing some research around potential platforms to use. Not only can it help you to improve your cash flow through real time invoice tracking, notifications and invoice reminders, allowing for online payments can also make your business look more professional.

If you’re struggling to keep track of your employees’ work, you could consider reviewing your existing project and task management software as well. There are a wide range of project and task management tools and applications on the market that can help you to do just this, as well as chart reports and create graphs to get better insights.

5. Develop a networking strategy

Networking strategy involves taking a more critical approach to making professional connections and contacts. Few SME owners have a networking strategy and therefore end up missing out on word-of-mouth networking.

Look online or keep an eye out for in-person opportunities where you can hit some key target markets. This could include joining anything from your professional industry association to a local business owners' Facebook group.

Communicating with these networks, as well as your own support networks, can help you to also share ideas and innovative applications. This way, the next time your business is jeopardised due to unforeseen circumstances, like COVID-19, you’ll have more resources to help.

If you think that your business can benefit from Earlypay's modern invoice financing facility and would like to find out more, please contact our team today on 1300 760 205.

If you'd like to learn how Earlypay's Invoice Finance & Equipment Finance can help you boost your working capital to fund growth or keep on top of day-to-day operations of your business, contact Earlypay's helpful team today on 1300 760 205, visit our sign-up form or contact [email protected].