I’m penning this column against the backdrop of a federal election that looks like will take place in July, and a federal budget just a week away.
There’s a lot of noise about how both the budget and election will play out – in particular their impacts on SMEs.
Some pre-budget research I’ve received from Bentleys, an accounting network, says 39 per cent of SMEs think the budget will not include measures beneficial to their business, compared with 23 per cent that think it will.
Take what you will from these findings. We get reports like this every day and while indicative of sentiment, it doesn’t really tell the full story.
I’m often asked as an SME owner (and as a journo I ask people myself) about the key success factors to running an SME.
I get pretty mixed views; however, the ‘not-so-good’ SMEs usually lament all the reasons why business is so tough – government red tape, not enough support, too many taxes, compliance hurdles, etc.
The ‘good’ SMEs – i.e. those that are killing it – hardly ever mention the factors that are potentially holding them back. They usually talk about the drive to increase sales and achieve greater efficiencies, and the importance of leadership in finding and keeping the best people – the list goes on.
These SMEs focus on the stuff they can control, rather than the stuff they can’t, such as the budget, interest rates or the outcome of the election.
Interestingly, the recent My Business SME Insight Survey corroborated this. I believe the SMEs we surveyed must be those driven to succeed in their business!
When asked what the main barrier to growth was in their business, the majority (34 per cent) said attracting new customers, followed closely by having access to the right people. Just 6 per cent said regulation and 2 per cent said tax and compliance obligations.
Increasing sales and better people management are both key factors all SMEs can control in their business.
The message here is a very simple one: don’t drive down your motivation or become despondent about business prospects by blaming factors beyond your control.
Establish what makes you tick and how you can motivate yourself, set yourself some strategies to impact those parts of your business that you can influence and share this vision with key people in your team. It’s called leadership.
The best business people I know are those that cut out the noise and bulls#$t excuses, get on with what they can do and do it well. And you know what? They have fun in the process.