SME’s in 2018
What does 2018 hold for Australian SMEs?
- by BusinessesForSale.com
The approach of a new year 2018 is a traditional time for reviews and predictions, and here we consider the 2016 outlook for Australian SMEs.
- Businesses operate in a climate constantly influenced by an interactive range of social, economic and cultural trends, but for discussion and reporting purposes this snapshot will inform current business owners, and prospective buyers and sellers, by examining issues and trends across three broad categories:
- – the ‘big picture’ analysis considers worldwide trends and matters which impact upon larger regions;
- – the ‘in-house’ commentary explores features which mostly concern business operations at an organisational level;
- – the lifestyle trends discussion looks at developments in social/cultural spheres likely to shape customer behavior.
Global and regional mega-trends 2018
- Demographics reveal the working age population which has contributed to Australia’s prosperity over the last 30 years is now ageing.Now in 2016.
- For the future, this means a reduced worker population supporting a growing body of retired workers. Whilst retirees will be relatively well off, how – and indeed whether – this new capital source affects investment will in turn determine the economic outcomes.
- With neighbouring Asian economies continuing to emerge and mature, there is much potential for the development of new export markets whilst inbound Asian capital may also benefit Australia’s education, finance, real estate and similar sectors.
- At the same time, increased exposure to Asian competition may pose challenges for domestic companies in 2016.
- As digital technologies continue to shrink the world and facilitate entry to global markets, so new opportunities will benefit Australia’s existing business community and innovators alike. In addition, the influence of foreign companies will enhance the vibrance and diversity of Australia’s home markets.
- Building consumer trust in online purchasing will be essential for companies looking to prosper in the digital marketplace towards 2018.
- The flow of global cross-border business capital fell victim to the worldwide financial crisis, and despite considerable improvement shows little sign of returning to former levels.
- This means capital-exporting opportunities now exist for Australian investors, leading in due course to a healthy range of financial options.
- However, failure to respond accompanied by conservative measures could put a brake on investments and returns, and maybe even prompt increased capital importation.
- With the world’s natural resources becoming scarce, Australia’s own diverse resources hold the promise of benefits for mining, agriculture and similar sectors which can thus expect growth.
- How much growth may depend on innovation and investment, plus an ability to read and react to a sometimes volatile market with confidence.
Business and institutional trends in 2018 for SME’s.
- Data and analysis is not new to business practice, but the shift from packages requiring expert analysis to user-friendly market- and performance data is set to continu
- Accompanying this trend will be an expansion of workforce personnel with data access – one survey anticipates software predictive tools will be available to 42% of employees – and smaller companies will also gain from easy-access formats.
- Less-demanding applications will encourage businesses to develop their own unique reporting and ‘storytelling’ data functions. Such end-user benefits should translate into improved understanding of markets and better targeting of resources.
- We could also see growth in the ‘cloud style’ outsourcing of business data analysis with business intelligence service providers offering sophisticated handling of high data volumes. Such developments would also give smaller companies low-cost access to complex market-analysis facilities.
- Often emerging from intricate market analysis and expected to proliferate in 2018, ‘counter-trending’ is the identification of specific weaknesses within a rival product or service.
- Informed by such analysis, a company creates a competing offering which is a targeted improvement of the original in order to gain significant market advantage.
- Where such ‘digital disruption’ is the result of a genuinely resourceful application of new methodologies, many start-ups have been able to secure generous seed capital, a trend which looks set to accelerate as 2018 approaches.
Social and cultural trends
- The use of mobile devices to access online information is once again forecast to increase.
- This will challenge businesses to rethink their online presence in order to safeguard or improve their market share by ensuring their site interface is attractive to mobile users. In 2018, these same users are also expected to be keenly aware of their online vulnerability, and companies able to provide a demonstrably secure environment for online transactions will reap the benefit.
- Similarly, online shopping will become even more important with many more companies realising that a convincing online presence is just as essential as physical high street outlets.
- In addition, retailers must be aware consumers can now access online sites via an increasing array of smart devices – and be prepared to adapt and respond accordingly.
- Meanwhile, social media’s ability to formulate opinions will continue unchecked: companies will continue to monitor and manage their online reputation, whilst individuals who continue to innovate are now, for example, finding this a convenient means of securing employment, bolstering consumer rights, and promoting and sustaining diverse health and lifestyle trends.