Published on the 20/10/2021 | Written by Heather Wright
Xero report shows life’s not fun for NZ small business…
SMBs are overworked and suffering the wellbeing and productivity effects, but they’re failing to harness technology to aid them.
New research from Xero, which surveyed 1,000 small business owners and sole traders in New Zealand, shows nearly 33 percent believe they’re working too many hours a week, with 28 percent believing their hours are unsustainable. The burden of admin is a key contributor with 80 percent of SME owners and sole traders saying admin work impacts their enjoyment of work and 62 percent saying it impacts their wellbeing.
“By adopting digital tools and investing in wellbeing, SMBs will improve productivity and open themselves up to new opportunities.”
The research also shows a clear correlation between digitisation and productivity, a spokesperson told iStart.
Businesses with five or more apps grew their sales by 4.3 percent in the year to December 2020, while those without apps saw a decline of 3.4 percent.
“These small businesses also returned to near net job growth across 2020 compared to firms who had no apps connected, says Craig Hudson, Xero managing director, New Zealand and Pacific Islands. Those with five or more apps saw near net job growth across 2020 with a year on year decline of 1.8 percent, while those who had no apps connected experienced job losses of 5.1 percent year on year.
“Covid-19 has accentuated the importance of being able to operate remotely to connect with customers, assist with employee management and manage remote-working arrangements across different sectors,” the spokesperson says.
“If we can encourage Kiwis to digitise their business processes, there will be an increase in both productivity for these businesses and wellbeing for owners and employees.
“Business digitalisation tools should be top of mind for the nation’s small business owners so they can take back time for what they love.”
Indeed, the SMB owners and sole traders were well aware of the benefits of digitisation, with 49 percent saying improving their business’ productivity through digitalisation would have a positive impact on their wellbeing.
However, standing in the way for many is the issue of money, which was the biggest barrier to digitalisation. Not knowing where to start or having the time to implement solutions followed.
“By adopting digital tools and investing in wellbeing, small business owners and self-employed Kiwis will improve the productivity of their business and open themselves up to new opportunities,” the spokesperson says.
That’s something he says is backed by New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) economic research. An earlier report which Xero worked on with NZIER showed a 20 percent uptake in cloud-based technology would delivery big productivity gains and contribute up to $6.2 billion in annual GDP growth for New Zealand’s economy.
“Small business owners and self employed [didn’t start their businesses] to work long hours, face money struggles, waste time on unnecessary admin or struggle looking after the wellbeing of themselves and their staff. Embracing digitisation can improve productivity and wellbeing.”
And, Xero, which has launched a site, Why We’re In It, to help advise on the first steps SMBs and sole traders can take towards embracing wellbeing and digitalisation, says that improved wellbeing will give them more focus and enable them and their teams to get more out of the time they work.
“Wellbeing, digitisation and productivity all link together to help small businesses prosper.”