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For SMEs, knowledge is success

For business owners, the need to stay a step ahead of the competition never abates. Call it being fluid, agile or even hyper-responsive, businesses need to adapt rapidly to both local and increasingly global competitors.

Part of the response is valuable partners. Not just traditional partnerships – a strategy which still makes sense - but in this world what we might call a “partnership” with data.

"Australian businesses continued success centres on remaining relevant and competitive in their markets, which managing challenges not just from down the street but around the world.”

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Pic: IGA Supermarket in Maleny Source: Provided

For example, software giant SAS says effective use of data and analytics can allow small businesses to make faster, better-informed decisions on their future.

Once the province of big companies, SMEs can now access real-time information on financial position. Simple software such as Xero or MYOB can offer live information on tax and profitability, proving helpful in understanding cashflow – and therefore improve the effectiveness of planning.

Our ANZ Business Insights offers free access to real-time data and online reports with information on sales patterns, trends, customer profiles and industry benchmarking.

Royalty

Today, data is king. Never before have we seen such volumes of data being produced, stored and available to analyse.

Access to quality information was often the issue but now the challenge is making sense of the sheer volume of information available and putting it to work effectively.

Results speak for themselves: the revenue gap between digital-savvy businesses and others growing.

In 2017, research from latest the Deloitte-Google Connected Small Businesses report showed SMEs with ‘basic-level’ digital engagement (businesses with only a single business email address) fell from 23 to 11 per cent.

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Pic: Rob Outridge Source: Provided

It also showed SMEs with advanced levels of digital engagement were 50 per cent more likely to report growth in revenue - and earn 60 per cent more revenue per employee, compared to those with basic engagement levels.

Scratching

Here’s a case study: Rob Outridge, the owner and operator of IGA Supermarket in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, says “for years I have been scratching my head wondering how much of our trade was local and how much came from elsewhere”.

The business – albeit under a few different owners – has operated in the same location since 1905 and is housed in a beautiful Art Deco building, selling local produce to residents and tourists alike.

Using ANZ’s Business Insights Tool, Outridge learned more than 80 per cent of his business comes from local residents, with the remainder being tourists and people passing through.

“The lessons are numerous,” he said. “Look after your locals and don’t waste money on ‘scattergun’ advertising.”

“We learned the business tends to attract an older demographic, which may be due to the quality and range of gourmet lines, but may also point to marketing efforts not resonating with the younger set.”

Digitised

The ANZ Business Insight Tool delivers digitised customer data using the 47 million ANZ card and merchant terminal transactions that occur each week.

The tool gives users insights into how and when their customers are transacting with them as well as aggregated competitor data across industries and regions in a simplified dashboard.

Benchmark

Applying digital tools to benchmark and compare even the most basic metrics, like sale times, customer visits, average age and average sales volumes against other similar enterprises in the area immediately throws open the doors for constant evolution and improvement.

As more businesses grapple with the constant evolution of customer demands and preferences, making the most effective use of surplus information to benefit both business and consumers is a necessity, not a luxury.

 Cosi De Angelis is General Manager Transaction Banking & Asset Finance Solutions at ANZ 

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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