Westpac drives digital economy with target to get 100,000 small Business Online
29 April 2013
Westpac and MYOB create ‘Ready for Business’, a toolkit for success: Attract customers, get organised and get paid.
Westpac has committed to getting 100,000 Australian small businesses online as the Bank launches ‘Ready for Business’, a joint initiative with MYOB developed to provide a much needed boost to the digital economy by advancing digital capabilities of small business.
The ‘Westpac Ready for Business Report’, which surveyed 1,000 Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), found that over half (53%) of Australian small businesses do not have a website, equating to more than one million businesses who are not online, promoting their business.
The report also surveyed 1,000 Australians on their preferences when shopping with 50% of those consumers surveyed saying they always use the internet to research prior to purchasing a product or service, and over half (53%) reporting they spend more than an hour shopping online a week.
“The results demonstrate a divide between the ‘digital haves’ and the ‘digital have-nots.’ Many businesses without digital tools such as a website and online invoicing and payment capabilities are competitively disadvantaged,” said Westpac General Manager Retail Banking, Gai McGrath.
To combat this, Westpac has teamed up with MYOB to provide a digital toolkit called ‘Ready for Business’ which offers SMEs the tools they need to start and grow their business, all in one place. Key to this is including a tool to build an off-the-shelf website, which has been identified as a key revenue driver.
Of those small business owners who have a transactional website, 91% reported an increase in revenue as a direct result of the transaction function.
‘Ready for Business’ also helps facilitate both online invoicing and payments with the report revealing that two in three (66%) SMEs believe that having the ability to be paid online through a transactional website would provide an advantage for their company.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed says, “We’re thrilled to partner with Westpac on the initiative. We share a goal of making business life easier by helping small businesses engage in the digital economy.
“Businesses taking up Ready for Business will be able to build an attractive website, raise invoices, get paid online and integrate this with their business bank account where transactions are automatically fed through to their online accounting. What’s more, they will get help along the journey from MYOB and Westpac experts,” says Mr Reed.
The report found that two of the biggest challenges identified by respondents were getting set up (28%) and knowing where to start (22%), indicating a need for additional support.
“We understand the major issues faced by SMEs and topping the list is getting paid, getting more customers and getting more time. With more than 300,000 new businesses registered each year in Australia ,'Ready for Business' is just one of the ways Westpac is supporting small business to make it to that crucial second year in business and beyond. Westpac has the largest network of small business bankers in Australia, with 650 branch-based small business specialists available nationally,” says Ms McGrath.
The majority of those surveyed responded that having an online payment facility made it easier for customers to make purchases (94%), increased sales (79%) and revenue (75%). Interestingly, 43% of small business owners list time as the scarcest resource over money (33%).
“The research also found that over half (53%) of small businesses surveyed believe that they have missed out on business opportunities due to not having a website. These figures suggest that a large group of Australian businesses are missing out on a significant amount of money as a consequence,” explains Ms McGrath.
‘Ready for Business' offers the following key services in one central place, enabling SMEs to:
- Attract Customers: MYOB Atlas is a website builder that makes it easy for businesses to get online and start attracting customers anywhere, anytime. It includes social media integration, online search optimisation, and it’s free for the first three months
- Manage Your Earnings: Westpac is offering SMEs a Business One Low Account with no monthly plan fees for twelve months. MYOB Atlas also offers the ability for SMEs to easily get paid through a website transaction facility
- Get Paid Faster: MYOB LiveAccounts an easy online accounting solution that includes key features such as secure bank feeds and easy invoicing. It’s free for the first three months.
- Plan Ahead: Westpac’s Davidson Institute provides online tutorials to create a comprehensive business plan to detail your purpose, identify your core proposition and manage key performance metrics to help your business prosper and grow. In addition, business operators can book a complimentary one hour consultation with a MYOB Certified Consultant for an introduction to MYOB Atlas and/or MYOB LiveAccounts.
“While we know that most start-ups have been considering setting up a business for some time and are very familiar with their industry, the process of actually starting a business can be complicated. Through 'Ready for Business', Westpac and MYOB is making it simple, easy and fast to help establish and grow your business with ongoing support from the start-up phase through to the growth phase and beyond,” Ms McGrath concludes.
Key findings from research:
- 43% of small business owners list time as the scarcest resource over money (33%)
- The most time consuming activities small business owners undertake every week include:
- Managing accounting /administration (53%)
- Generating sales leads/revenues (49%)
Challenges and Issues
- The biggest challenges SMEs identified when starting their business included:
- Getting set up (i.e. registering the business, acquiring insurance, establishing bank accounts) (28%)
- Knowing where to start (22%)
- The biggest issues faced by SMEs right now include:
- Generating sales and sales leads (17%)
- The cost of running the business (12%)
- Managing cash flow (11%)
Fundamentals of Success
- The key secrets to success listed by SMEs include:
- Implementing the right processes (48%)
- Good marketing material (23%)
- Using communication technology e.g. mobile devices, social media and applications (23%)
The Benefits of Websites
- 50% of those consumers surveyed always use the Internet prior to purchasing. Despite this, 53% of Australian businesses do not have a website.
- Those SMEs who have websites find them most useful for the following reasons:
- Establishing business credibility (90%)
- Raising awareness of business/brand/product (89%)
- Growing the business (79%)
- Generating qualified leads/sales (76%)
- The majority (75%) of small business owners feel that having a website makes them more competitive
- Those small businesses who have set up a website have reported an increase in their:
- Level of business awareness (73%)
- Number of leads and customer traffic (69%)
- Number of sales (61%)
- Amount of revenue (61%)
- Sales footprint (55%)
- Conversion rates (52%)
- Generally, many small business owners believe an online presence is important to their customers (51%) and that an online payment facility is important to them too (41%).
- Over half (53%) of those surveyed believe they have possibly missed out on business opportunities because of a lack of online presence.
- Of those that had a transactional website (24% of the total sample), most did not have a physical store (66%). Many only added this transactional capability at a later stage of their website development (45%).
- 91% of small business owners with a transactional website did report an increase in revenue as a direct result.
- Most report having an online payment facility:
- Made it easier for customers to buy (94%)
- Increased sales (79%)
- Increased revenue for their business (75%)
- The majority of small business owners thought it would be useful to have the ability to go to one place online to set up their website (including a transactional facility), business banking accounts, and online banking/ accounting (66%).
- Most of these people thought it would:
- Make things easier (48%)
- Save time (34%)
- Of those thinking they would save time, half estimated saving at least four hours per week (52%)
Website Development Support
- Around a third (35%) of those small business owners without a website are likely to set one up in the next two years (and 42% in the next five years)
- The majority of businesses without a website either don’t feel or are unsure they currently have enough information and support available to create an effective website (61%).
For more information on Ready for Business visit www.westpac.com.au/myob.
Notes to editors:
About the ‘Westpac Ready for Business Report’
Source: CoreData Consulting Pty Ltd, commissioned by Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) (ABN 33 007 457 141) and based on information as at March 2013. Data used in this report may change into the future which may affect the outcome. For further information regarding the methodology used in the report please contact WBC Media Relations Unit on 02 8253 9484