In an ever-evolving business landscape, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face a unique set of challenges that impact their growth and sustainability. Empiraa conducted a market research survey to garner insights from 618 SMBs across Australia and the USA. The aim was to capture a comprehensive view of the hurdles these businesses face in the current climate.
The was a strong trend among the businesses surveyed that spoke to the struggle many are having finding and building the right team. Only 33% of businesses were satisfied with their current team.
The natural conclusion to solving this issue, is going to market for new people to freshen up your teams. However, the stats show that 70% of the businesses surveyed said they found it difficult to hire new staff. Whether that be from lack of expertise, high demands of potential employees, or not being able to provide a competitive salary.
With 48% of SMBs trying to actively improve their company culture, building your teams around the right people is critical.
"I found it very interesting that 53% of businesses recognise that social media is the leading marketing tool and yet over 60% don’t have a dedicated in-house marketing team to help with this! Social Media is cluttered with very few credible experts to help navigate this space so it’s no surprise that nearly 40% find strategy development challenging!”
"Nearly a quarter of survey respondents pinpoint technology as the area most in need of investment. This reflects a recognition of its critical role in staying competitive and adapting to market fluctuations, which 56.7% of businesses find to be a significant challenge in planning."
"This [is] a good sign that the key stakeholders in businesses are proactively thinking and planning across the broad range of topics and issues outlined in the survey to best position themselves for future growth and success."
The trends around technology were by far the most unanimous across the board of the businesses we surveyed. 89% of businesses find integrating new technologies difficult. And of those businesses, 44% believe digital transformation is critical for their success.
Businesses need to focus on streamlining their tech stack with software and platforms that actually work for them. The difficulty with implementing new tech shows that these businesses primarily don't have staff that are proficient in this area. It might be necessary for those needing to adopt new tech rapidly, to hire someone for this role, knowing that doing so is critical for the business longevity.
On the front line of business planning, most businesses are doing reasonably well in having some type of plan in place and checking in with it semi-regularly. 83% of businesses have a contingency plan in place, which makes sense given market and economic fluctuations are concerns for many.
One are that proved worrying was that only 17% of founders and business owners are confident in their business scaleability. This probably has something to do with the fact that 63% of businesses feel the need to diversify their products/services in the near future.