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We all know how important small business is to the Australian economy and how technology is providing new opportunities.

Small businesses are truly the backbone of Australia’s economy. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees employ nearly half (46 percent) of the Australian workforce, and contribute a third (35 percent) of Australia’s GDP.

Connecting Australia – the big future of small business research, commissioned by nbn and undertaken by Alpha Beta, explores the connection between use of technology by small businesses, and their performance.

While increased connectivity, affordability and the cloud have made business technology for large companies more accessible, the majority of Australian small businesses are yet to fully embrace the opportunities afforded to digitise their systems and processes, but the journey has begun.

Unit prices for broadband connectivity have become more affordable compared to the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI). Telecommunications unit prices have fallen 6 percent since 2000 while the CPI has increased by 63 percent.

In this context the Connecting Australia – the big future of small business research findings reflected:

  • Small business has an unprecedented opportunity with broadband and cloud systems to take on
    big business.
  • Small business only spends a small proportion of revenue on technology, about 1 percent on average with variations across sectors.
  • Small businesses that do spend more on technology tends to have better profit and employment growth.
  • Small businesses are sometimes put off technology because they lack the skills, time or resources, or because they lack knowledge of the opportunities.

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Weighted average technology spend as a % of revenue by industry, 2017
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The Sebel Launceston

The nbnTM broadband access network is uplifting the digital capability for even the traditional hotel industry, which is finding guests are increasingly IT-savvy and their expectations of a hotel to meet their digital needs have changed.

Craig and Susan Richman, owners of The Sebel Launceston, came back to their home town to transform the hotel into one of the premium hotel experiences in the city. The pair recognised that guests often have better home internet than they do in a hotel, along with being restricted to single-use ethernet ports with premium rates during hotel stays.

Concerns are soon to diminish with an upgrade on the horizon, providing secure Wi-Fi, with a once-only security logon that would stay active across the entire hotel precinct during their stay. The winds of change are coming to The Sebel Launceston, possible by technological enhancements that would make them the preferred choice as people travel away from home.

Firms with the highest levels of technology spending growth between 2015 and 2017 grew their revenues 3.5 percentage points.

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At nbn our mission is to lift the digital capability of Australia, and we are committed to providing the infrastructure that will power the digital transformation of small businesses, wherever they may be.