When regularly meeting with my clients I have noticed a common goal from them all – they are all looking for strategies on how they can make 2015 a profitable one and ride out the turbulent times the economy and local policy is causing.
Government policy is concerning – but it’s not all doom and gloom if you know how to use it to your advantage
You can’t ignore the impact of fiscal and monetary policy. There is uncertainty in our leadership of late, and this is an inevitable flow on from the controversial Budget last year, and a series of broken promises since, causing a sense of instability in business owners and the fear that we’re heading into tougher times.
The big picture at the moment is showing our mining centre is crumbling, our property market is picking up the slack, China’s growth is having a direct impact on exports, and the US economy is growing.
Property and share markets are seeing renewed popularity with lower interest rates providing a major catalyst for investors to switch out of cash into more risky assets, especially investments with yield.
While we’re all staying glued to the media for the government's next move, I suspect a lot of business owners aren't paying enough attention to an outside force that is also causing major disruption in business – that force being technology.
The impact of technology in Australian business
Azure Group is a firm that has a strong focus on the technology sector, so I get full visibility on how disruptive technology can be. Every day I see examples of how technology is changing the business landscape. The government sees it too. They are showing this by introducing schemes like the NBN, innovation programs and so on. Business owners need to get it too; otherwise you’ll be left behind.
This means technology needs to form a sophisticated part of your business. You need to look at the structure of your business to see how prepared you are for the impact of technology. You also need to remember that this isn't just on a local scale; technology makes us vulnerable to the wider global competition.
Top 3 technology disruptors you can’t ignore
Most of your customers will be accessing your website and services via their smartphone and you need to have a mobile strategy to capitalise on this.
2. Big data
Around 90% of the worlds data has been created in the past two years. ‘Big data’ describes the vast amounts and many types of data being produced. Exploiting this information will demand people with analytical and interpretation skills that can sift through and identify patterns of value to business.
Third party providers in the cloud will be taking over many more business processes over the coming decade. Things like HR, operations and sales, finance and accounting are moving over to the cloud. As cloud converges with technologies such as mobile and big data they will become mutually reinforcing and inevitable.
Strategies to attract new opportunities in uncertain times
It’s not all grim and if you think outside the square and look at some of the following strategies, you could safeguard your business from the political instability that is everyone's concern at the moment.
- Align with other sectors - No doubt you’ve built strong alliance partners during your years of business. Now is a great time to strengthen and leverage off those relationships even further.
- Take advantage of the low exchange rate - Look at export opportunities in your business. Try and take advantage of the on the low AUD at the moment and how that can appeal to an international audience.
- Utilise the low interest environment - With the low interest rates and access to bank funding a lot easier, now is a good time to consider your financing needs.
- Introduce technology - If you have an operational problem in your business there is bound to be a technological solution out there to save you time, stress and money. Demand and expect innovation from your suppliers.
- Consolidate your team – Now more than ever you need a quality team with a unified vision behind you. Get them invested in their role and encourage a high performing environment.
- Utilise government grants - The government have introduced a range of innovation and growth grants that are very accessible and valuable. Look into these and see if you are eligible.
- Outsource strategically – connecting with people outside of your business is faster than it’s ever been at any point in history. This gives you access to beyond the physical barriers of your office and means you can work in real time with experts around the world.
- Push the profitable areas in your business - Step back from the day to day running of your business and really analyse which areas of the business are proving more profitable. Look at how you can push this further and develop or cut the areas that are dragging you down.
- Expanding overseas - It is the perfect climate to realise that dream of expanding abroad. With a lot of the monetary policies in place at the moment, taking your business overseas is a very real possibility and one you should explore.
What Azure Group is doing to help the SME in today’s climate:
We are asking questions.
We are lodging official feedback on legislation.
We have the back of the SME business owner and we will keep fighting for a fair and equitable system.
We have lodged submissions on:
- Employee Share Scheme changes
- Crowd-sourced Equity Funding
We are guiding our clients to introduce these strategies to their business by making use of the Government Growth Grants that provide up to $20,000 of funding for business mentoring programs.
We have introduced a business strategy and growth program called The Business Challenge which gives the SME business access to some of the most commercial CFOs in the country. It’s this type of program that is the perfect partner to these Government Grants and can really make a profound difference.
You can no longer just run your business. You must learn to leverage the political climate and invest in innovation before your competitors do. Always strive for the first move advantage and keep your business moving forward.
To learn more about The Business Challenge and how we can assist you in applying for a Growth Grant to apply some of the strategies above please contact email@example.com