Here are three ways the experts shared to help small businesses take the next step and grow:
1. Aggressively adopt technology
Peter Williams, former chief executive of Deloitte Digital and chairman of the Deloitte Innovation Council, says the digital revolution provides a key opportunity for growth.
“Australians adopt technology like sponges,” Williams says.
But he warns SMEs are falling behind.
“Get aggressive adopting technology because you can out-adopt the big people,” he says.
“Map in your business who is moving slow and who you can have a crack at.”
Williams says the many low cost or free technology systems available via the cloud present a great opportunity for SMEs.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, learn by doing.”
2. Sell value beyond product
Sue Barrett, founder and chief executive of Barrett Consulting Group and regular SmartCompany blogger says many businesses are struggling with sales, as so many products have been commoditised.
She warns sales have been reduced to just competing on price, which erodes margins.
“You need to sell value beyond a product,” Barrett says.
“Good selling is not about ripping people off”.
Barrett recommends taking a look at the sales materials for your business.
If it focuses on talking about how gorgeous and glamorous your business is, Barrett says this is an “epic fail”.
“Instead talk about how you can help people”, she says.
3. Take calculated risks
Ryan Trainor says deciding to mortgage his house against his business was one of the easiest decisions he’s ever made.
The founder of BSchool says the numbers added up for his business and he knew he was just covering a cash flow shortage.
“Risks are calculated but at some stage you have to take a step,” Trainor says.
“In life there’s time to take a quantum leap, it’s not about being reckless it’s about doubling down and backing yourself.”