The sharing economy is often held up as a big, bad threat to small business.
But more are feeling positively about it than negatively.
According to MYOB’s latest Business Monitor release, 75 per cent of businesses felt neither positively about the likes of Uber and Airbnb or negatively about them. However, more said it was a positive than a negative.
18 per cent of all small and medium enterprises said the sharing economy was a positive, with 71 per cent of franchisors and 41 per cent of franchisees the most optimistic about it.
Only 7 per cent said the sharing economy was having a negative impact on their business.
MYOB Chief Technical Advisor Simon Raik-Allen said the positivity of small and medium enterprises showed that the sharing economy was creating value, rather than eroding it.
“This is a genuine area of growth and innovation in Australia – these new approaches are clearly creating their own markets,” he said.
“We’re starting to see a real buzz among our customers around outsourcing as well, so I’d be expecting growth in the virtual assistant and social and website management areas as operators increase their online operations.”
Small and medium business owners also appear to not be overly-threatened by the pace of technological change, with three in five saying it was “about right”. Gen Y (13 per cent) and Gen X (14 per cent) were the most relaxed about technological change.
Overall, the results paint a picture of small and medium business owners actively engaging with the future rather than being threatened by it, but there is still enormous scope for digitising their businesses.
52 per cent don’t have a website!
While small and medium business owners were embracing the future, MYOB found that just a shade under half (48 per cent) had a website, which is up from 43 per cent in the previous Business Monitor.
However, there appears to be a split between Gen Y and traditionalists when it comes to their digital presence.
MYOB found 75 per cent of Gen Y respondents and 66 per cent of Gen X respondents were likely to have a web presence, in contrast to those over 70 with just 29 per cent likely to have an online footprint.
The more than half of small and medium enterprises which don’t have websites have a great opportunity to get online.
Those who did have a website saw the main advantages of doing so as:
- Generating more customer enquiries or leads in general (46 per cent)
- Enabling them to have a more professional brand image (44 per cent)
- Making it easier to do business (40 per cent)
Elsewhere in the Business Monitor, MYOB found that retail and hospitality businesses were leading the way when it came to digitising their payments. 44 per cent said they are most likely to accept digital payments such as EFTPOS, ApplePay, PayPal or a mobile app – against the average of 28 per cent.
Raik-Allen said it was heartening to see an increasing number get onto the digital payments bandwagon.
“We know that late payments and cash flow are an ongoing concern for small and medium enterprises so it’s great to see businesses discovering the immediate benefits of digital payments, which deliver funds quickly and securely,” he said.
32 per cent of small and medium business owners surveyed also said they were using an online accounting and bookkeeping solution.