Three-quarters of small businesses are struggling with business management, with 30 per cent saying they are struggling with finance issues, a new study has found.
New research commissioned by SME lender Prospa and undertaken by YouGov Galaxy has found that 75 per cent of small-business owners are personally struggling with one or more areas of business management.
According to the study, which surveyed 255 small-business owners across a range of industries in Australia, of the small businesses struggling with an aspect of business management, nearly a quarter had suffered from cash flow issues that had brought them close to going out of business as a consequence.
Ninety per cent of small businesses said that they worked long hours to manage the different aspects of their business, but many were still struggling with different aspects of their business.
As well as cash flow issues, 34 per cent of small business owners reported that they had lost opportunities to grow their business, 29 per cent had been forced to spend money on “expert help” and 27 per cent had lost revenue or customers.
For example, 35 per cent of small-business owners said they struggled with finance, including tax, accounting and budgeting, while 30 per cent were struggling with digital marketing.
Meanwhile, 22 per cent singled out debt collection and the management of overdue invoices as areas they needed help with.
The research also revealed that 26 per cent of small businesses thought that investing in a marketing campaign would have the biggest impact on their business, 13 percent said hiring more staff and 14 per cent said buying better equipment.
Commenting on the report findings, the co-founder and joint CEO of Prospa, Beau Bertoli, said: “Many brokers are also small business owners, so they understand the pressures of wearing so many hats at once. A broker who runs his or her own firm is likely thinking about social media, bookkeeping and managing staff on a daily basis, in addition to helping their clients access funding.
“Digital marketing is becoming more and more important for brokers looking to grow their business, but many aren’t confident about their skills in this area.”
Mr Bertoli noted that Prospa therefore provides partners with tools and resources to help drive engagement with small-business owners, which “can be a great way for brokers to strengthen existing relationships and reach new prospects”, he said.
Mark Bouris, chair of the Small Business Digital Taskforce and founder and chairman of Yellow Brick Road, said that adopting digital technologies improves both productivity and enhances customer engagement, opening up new opportunities to increase revenue.
Mr Bouris commented: “Customers today expect to be able to interact with businesses of any size online, yet only half have a web presence and less than 40 per cent use social media.
“In an increasingly digital Australian economy, it’s vital we equip small businesses with the right skills to grow.”
[Related article: Prospa surpasses $1bn in loan originations]