Aussie businesses were hit hard during the lockdowns. To add to that, government restrictions seemed to change day by day. Rules varying depending on location, forcing many businesses to close and people to stay home. Chaos and confusion have become part of the ‘new normal’ or the ‘new new.’
Yet, despite the painful economic impact sending shock waves through almost every industry, Aussie entrepreneurs are feeling optimistic about their future prospects, according to recent business statistics by GoDaddy.
GoDaddy surveyed 1,000+ Aussie businesses across a wide range of industries in all States and Territories.
The goal? To explore their approach to business and technology trends in the current climate.
Overall, the results were positive. Aussie entrepreneurs and small businesses are taking learnings from the past two years and moving away from the ‘new normal’ and into a thriving future.
Much of the confidence is due to the new digital skills acquired during the downtime and using that knowledge to reinvent their businesses.
A website is crucial for thriving in this new world
Small businesses have always showed their strong ability to bounce back from anything. We witnessed this after the devastating bushfires during the summer of 2019-20 only to face the pandemic a few months later.
GoDaddy’s recent research further proved entrepreneurs’ tenacity to push forward and flourish:
- Almost two-thirds of small businesses reported feeling hopeful about 2022
- Nearly half are no longer feeling the financial impacts of the pandemic
An interesting finding from the study was that business owners who had a website were more confident about future business recovery than those who didn’t have a digital presence.
If a website was a must before the pandemic, it’s become even more critical now.
A robust website has become a primary means of connecting with customers, especially with the need for physical distancing.
For example, we saw many restaurants switching their operations online and offering food delivery and at-home meal kits during the lockdown. This swift move allowed them to stay open and continue to serve customers.
Savvy business owners also added a wide range of features to their online marketing and service strategies, including:
- Social media marketing
- Shipping and delivery services
- E-commerce page or online store
Editor’s note: If you have a small business but no business website, now is definitely the time to get one. Build it yourself (truly no tech skills needed!) or let the pros at GoDaddy build one for you.
Brick-and-mortar stores take the backseat for now
Almost two-thirds (62%) of businesses said an online presence is now “more or much more important than a brick-and-mortar store.”
Our local brick-and-mortar shops will still have their place, of course. But given what we’ve been through, it comes as no surprise that only one in 10 were looking to invest in their retail stores or office. The reduced foot traffic doesn’t justify the need. So Aussie entrepreneurs looked towards new sales channels like online marketplaces and accelerated their digital offerings.
This clever move proved successful. Online sales accounted for over half (53%) of respondents' annual revenue.
For 23% of respondents, 100% of their total business revenue comes from online sales. A solid online presence has become the primary sales channel, with almost half (46%) believing their business won’t succeed without a website.
Aussie businesses eager to invest in growth
When asked what’s in store for this year, Aussie small businesses are enthusiastic about the business recovery. The goals for 2022 are to:
- Spend more on a website or e-commerce/online store
- Enhance existing products or services
- Create new offerings
Business owners are also looking to continue upskilling to stay ahead of the competition. Almost a third of business owners are looking to invest more in equipping themselves and their teams with non-technical skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills predicted to grow in prominence in the next five years.
According to the World Economic Forum, these are highly sought-after skills for the future, which means Aussie small businesses will be well-positioned to compete with the rest of the world.
A few headwinds on the horizon
While business owners feel excited to welcome the new year with new digital skillsets and a website to service customers, there are some qualms keeping business owners up at night.
Ongoing pandemic uncertainty
A fear of more lockdowns as we see more cases of new COVID-19 variants is still a concern for small businesses, which is why they’re placing a big spotlight on building their digital pipelines.
Increased competition — not just locally but globally — is also on the minds of small business owners. Concerns around lower demand in products and services and cashflow are also apparent.
Four in five respondents surveyed feel that trusting their instincts has positively impacted their business.
SMB owners have faith that 2022 will be a bigger and better year when they say they are optimistic about the year ahead. Aussie entrepreneurs will continue to invest in a strong online presence to secure the benefits and upskill in their digital capabilities.
Beneath the business statistics
If we want to take any words of wisdom on life and resilience, it’s learning from our Aussie small businesses and their determination to take on the online world. It is exciting to see their digital transformation fast-tracked — while at the same time, it’s also a little strange to think we have to acknowledge the pandemic for accelerating this!
Business owners across the country should take comfort from these business statistics. They can, too, adapt and thrive, thanks to the affordability and accessibility of digital tools.