Small enterprise opportunities abound

Small enterprise creates innovation.

Small enterprise have never had it so good

Small enterprise is now at the forefront of economic development and job creation. Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs), whether non-profit or for-profit are the new creators of jobs and a way to improve people’s lifestyles. The good part is that the governments and corporations are starting to realise that big is not necessarily important when it comes to work/life balance and improving lifestyles.

In 2017, for the first time in history, the internet will replace TV as the largest advertising channel. The way you do business has changed forever. The internet is no longer some obscure information marketing channel. No one can call it a fad anymore.

Technology has become the key driver of today’s small enterprise opportunities

Technology has never been better for small enterprises. It’s reliable, user-friendly, and far cheaper than a few short years ago. The train is waiting at the station for small enterprise owners and potential owners to climb aboard and take advantage of the current world economy and business marketplace.

According to Harvard Business Professor, Boris Groysberg, “startups are the Googles of tomorrow” and these days it’s all about “disruption”. But what exactly does that mean for your small business?

In Australia SME’s now make up 99% of all businesses and in 2016 850,000 new enterprises were established, up from the 250,000 which has been the norm for the last few years. And when it comes to employment, SMEs now employ more than half the total workforce.

A few years ago when an aspiring Prime Minister announced that if every small business in Australia employed one more person we would solve the unemployment problem, most people laughed at him. Today not so funny. If all existing business employed one more person and there were another 850,000 new startups, where would all the people come from? Something for our non-business orientated politicians to get their minds around.

What will change the landscape involving small enterprises?

Well, the principle driver is technology, and in particular cloud computing. It is making small enterprises ubiquitous. Cloud computing it is now readily available and very affordable. Today technology has made me feel like a ‘kid in a chocolate shop’ because there are so many options available. Technology is opening up avenues where the doors were previously shut. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Innovation capability has been opened up like never before.
  • Access to new markets, anywhere in the world.
  • Logistics have never been so reliable.
  • More flexible working environment meeting the demands of good employees.

Small enterprises are hungry

As small enterprises, you seem to have hungry written into your DNA. You want your customers to have a great experience and stay with you and you’re usually willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. With the exponential growth in technology small enterprises no longer have to sit back and endure the pain of things not working out. There seems to be an answer for everything and it’s not hard to find the answers you want.

There’s significantly less complacency in and around small enterprises today. Those who once felt that they were not being successful used to quit easily. Today, people who feel that way and understand something of the opportunities unfolding tend to hang in there and go on to achieve even greater things.

Your size gives you versatility and that versatility can lead to real innovation for customers and the way you live and work.  Gone are the days of Ford’s “you can have that in any colour you want as long as it’s black”.

Small business owners know they’re there to serve their customers. Nicely crafted statement on the wall, are replaced by a hundred and one small ways to serve. You also know that if you listen closely enough to your customers and your staff, great new innovations emerge and those innovations can put the small enterprise well and truly ahead of big business and their red-tape.

Lifestyle businesses are emerging

Smallness has become more achievable with the new technologies which have given rise to the home-office.

Smallness means you can be nimble. It’s much easier and quicker for you, and your teams, to respond to shifts in the market. You’ve probably seen some seismic shifts in your industry, even if it’s a very established one.

Today more than 50% of all enterprises are now home based. Has house hunting also become office hunting? With technology becoming more advanced and more present in the home, the need for space is dwindling and the pressure on lifestyles ins mounting. Even employers are understanding the real human and economic costs of the ‘big compute’.

Lifestyle changes are improving work/life relationships, with unique recipes for building a lifestyle business that works? It’s easy to see the people who understand how things work and have strategies to create the results they want. You will end up a loser if you keep stumbling along wishing, hoping and constantly complaining that you never get a break. Change the way you want to live and work by changing the culture you operate in because it can bring more balance into your life.

Have you considered a lifestyle business?

Today, many more people entering the workforce are looking at starting a small lifestyle business or becoming a contractor, in order to improve their lifestyles. They want their work/life balance to be in tune with personal aspirations. The prospects of working for big corporations is becoming less appealing, despite the big salaries and fancy corner offices, if you can get one. Many people are now realising that security is an elusive goal and in order to find it, you have to risk it.

Your personal life is only part of your lifestyle. You must do what it takes to accumulate enough knowledge to make your life work the way you would like. Your personal life should be in balance with your work life. Find out how the game is played by people who have great lifestyles. Play by the rules while avoiding risky behaviour.

In designing a strategy and getting the information you need about yourself, the people you encounter, or situations, be careful who you accept input from. Wrong thinking, strategies and actions coupled with bad information can settle your fate before you even get started. Build your toolkit because it can move your lifestyle in the direction you want. It is hard to be successful without the right tools and the right skills. 

Accept personal responsibility

Accept personal responsibility for your lifestyle. It’s not the cards you were dealt, but the way you play them. It’s important to come to grips with the way you play your cards.  Your role in creating the outcomes you want in your life is up to you. Achieving the lifestyle you want is not about luck, you are in charge, you are the managing director of your lifestyle and the outcomes you achieve. Lifestyle and learning go hand in hand.

When you start to accept personal responsibility for your lifestyle, is when small enterprise and life really starts to become fun. Start designing the lifestyle that you want and learn the tools and systems needed to build it. Then, in today’s environment, you can step up to the future you deserve. Small enterprise is the part that can completely change your life.

Learning becomes a lot more fun when you can see it connecting directly to the growth and success of your lifestyle. Knowledge is power and as you build the lifestyle business you want, it’s important to also study others who have done it, so you can skip the years of trial and error.

Like a cooking recipe, your business recipe must be in sync with your lifestyle:

  • The recipe must be formulated in such a way that it works well, on time, every time so you don’t have failures.
  • The business processes must be replicable in all details to be considered valid because everyone must understand them.
  • It must have real value that will meet customers and employee’s wants and needs.
  • You need to be in an environment you and your people like because bad environments lead to bad outcomes.
  • It must contain and package all necessary information and knowledge important to the business.
  • Make sure it’s a fun place in which to work because nobody is enthusiastic if they don’t like the environment.

Your business is like chapters in a book

If you want to build a small enterprise or lifestyle business that works then it is important to look at all the main functions, as each has a purpose. It is critical to address each main function of the business, not just the ones you like doing or are good at. If your business is not working as you would like, one of these parts is either broken or not working well.

What you don’t know about must be learned or can be outsourced, either way, you need to address each part and know how each one integrates with the others. If you don’t address a particular part then it will be like driving your car with a  missing wheel and your rate of progress forward will be severely impaired.

Always up for a challenge

As small enterprise owners, you’re always up for a challenge and corporates know that you are becoming a threat. For decades they’ve not really cared, thinking their size would protect them. But now that they’re seeing ‘traditional industry killers’ like Uber and AirBnB reshape the centuries- old transport and hotel industries, the old world corporations, and governments, realise they’re not so safe any longer. Small enterprises are slipping under the radar

Now you might be thinking, you’re just a small business owner. But you should remember, even the now mighty Google, started life being called ‘BackRub’. It started not as a ‘start-up’, but as two students working on a university project, mucking around trying to get things to work, before moving into a friend’s garage two years later. And Richard Branson’s now famous Virgin Group started life selling discount records via mail-order in the basement at his parent’s house.

Culturally different to corporations and governments

What makes the difference between you and a corporate? Richard Branson, says it’s “giving it a go”.  “Whatever problem (business or otherwise) it is that you’re trying to solve for a customer, the important thing is that you instinctively feel, you can do it. And do it a damn sight better than anyone else, because you just get out and do it”, Branson says.

Small business has an innately different culture – you fix things for people, make things better for them, every day – it’s what you do. And that difference leads to better everyday interactions. Culture is set by you. From there it filters down to everyone in your organisation and to your customers.

If you don’t like your culture, you can change it pretty quickly. As a small enterprise, you do that by living it on a daily basis. It won’t take long to be picked up as “the way we do things around here”. However, it’s a much tougher gig to get any real level of change in corporations and governments, with their hundreds or thousands of staff members. Many of whom will be change resistant and that’s what keeps them stuck in the quagmire of “this is how we’ve always done it”.

Like you, Richard Branson is full of enthusiasm for what’s to come for small Enterprises. “The last 10 years have been unreal with the amount of creativity that is taking place and how the world is changing so rapidly as a result of entrepreneurs, and changing, I think, generally for the better”.

Try moving into a place where you can mix with other enthusiastic SME entrepreneurs and challenge the status quo. And of course, have more fun along the way.

Quotable quotes

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision”. Peter Drucker

“Surround yourself only with those people who are going to lift you higher”. OprahWinfrey

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