RESEARCH by Intuit Australia, the company behind QuickBooks Online, is providing a unique snapshot of what is driving small business leaders and how they are innovating for success.
The Intuit Australia Survey of Small Business Owners has focused on what is driving Australians to start a new business, despite the current challenging commercial environment. Perhaps expectedly, one of the strongest conclusions the report draws is that the key to success is better planning and financial management.
Tellingly, the study also highlights that less than half (44 percent) of the owners of small startup businesses are very satisfied with the way they run their companies. Another strong trend is that success is not only measured in dollar terms.
The Intuit research found that age and gender have an enormous influence on why people look to start a business.
Women want to be their own boss (50 percent) or to supplement their or their family’s income (23 percent).
About 21 percent of Baby Boomer entrepreneurs started their own business because they were laid off.
Millennials are more likely to be driven by the passion for an idea (35 percent) or a hobby (19 percent).
It is clear from the study that entrepreneurs need to be patient and expect success to take upwards of two years.
One in four (27 percent) have not been able to get their companies to really hum and 58 percent wish they had done some things differently as they established their businesses.
For Millennial business owners, that figure rises even higher to 70 percent.
The responses show that Millennials regret not learning to better manage and track their finances (21 percent); not preparing an effective business plan (18 percent); and regret not spending more money on marketing (15 percent).
Outside of financial rewards, success is largely measured in confidence, work-life balance, the flexibility of working from home, and even being able to decide whether to chase growth or not.
Intuit Australia managing director Nicolette Maury said it was a concern that with more than half (56 percent) of business owners surveyed still relying on ledgers or spreadsheets to handle their operations, they were not yet tapping into the power of the affordable online financial management packages that are now available to every new business.
She said the time savings, streamlined invoicing and access to accurate financial and inventory information help solve many of the problems experienced by busy entrepreneurs.
“This research is key to better understanding how Australia’s entrepreneurs are approaching their small startup businesses,” Ms Maury said. “We are passionate about helping them set the right foundations for long term success, including educating them on the power of cloud accounting.”
A surprising fact that came out of the research was that 43 percent of owners do not currently use an accountant or bookkeeper to monitor the financial and compliance side of the operation. Even those who do use them are not leveraging those relationships for advice or planning.
Ms Maury said the study was only one of Intuit Australia’s investments in support of small business.
“The company acknowledges the hard work required to bring new ventures to fruition and recognises the value of SMBs to this country’s economy,” she said.
Intuit is the lead sponsor of the nationwide Startup Weekend Australia program that has events scheduled across the country from March to help local innovators succeed.
The Intuit study, conducted by Galaxy Research, was based on the responses of 500 small business owners throughout Australia, who employ 20 people or less and generate annual turnovers of $2 million or less, and who have been in business for less than five years.