The $50 billion opportunity for Australia’s small businesses

Sue Broughton runs Casa Di Natura, a day spa in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The remote location of her business meant she couldn’t rely on drop-in traffic, so Sue turned to online marketing - and is now booked out weeks in advance.

With a steady stream of customers, Sue Broughton can relax (almost) as much as her guests 

Not every small business owner is as digitally savvy as Sue - and they are missing out. We teamed up with PwC to understand more, and their Small Business, Digital Growth report found that Australian small businesses stand to generate $49.2 billion of economic value over the next ten years, simply by making better use of existing internet and mobile technologies. That’s enough money to build a second Sydney airport twenty times over.

Every dollar matters to small businesses. And virtually every small business in Australia—from day spas to night spots—can find new customers and drive efficiencies by better use of the web. Online marketing lets small businesses reach new customers, while the combination of smartphones and cloud computing allows business owners to create invoices, manage staff schedules and perform other tasks on the go.

The report found that slightly over half (53%) of the $50 billion potential benefit would be created outside inner city areas. Queensland stands to gain the most—if Sunshine State small businesses made the most of the web, for example by having a mobile-friendly website and making use of cloud-based services, they could generate an additional $11.3 billion for the Queensland economy over ten years.

Some sectors have especially big opportunities. For instance, small businesses in the agricultural, forestry and fishing sector could create 17% more economic value, simply by making better use of existing technology. And many other sectors could do even better.

Small business is too big a part of our economy not be cranking. So we’ve gone on the road to help small businesses all over Australia get online and make the most of the web (our next stop is Darwin on 3 September). In the meantime, here are three things every small business owner should be doing:
  1. Be found. Make sure you show up when people search for you online. You don’t need a website to start off - there are free and easy tools like Google My Business
  2. Go mobile. 95% of Aussies say they turn to their phones for information, ideas and advice. Make sure your web presence is mobile-friendly when they do, using these tips
  3. Get in the cloud. Using cloud-based software and storage like Google for Work can save you heaps of money, and means less downtime. It’s a no-brainer for small business owners.
The full report shows the digital potential of Australia’s small businesses by state and industry. If that feels a bit too much like hard work, you can always explore Sue’s spa, and hear the story in her own words, below.