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Thursday, 19 February 2015 00:29

Mix of passion, patience, financial management key to SMB success

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For budding entrepreneurs and would-be business tycoons, better planning and financial management are an important key to success, particularly in the startup phase of their small business.

According to research just released by accounting software solutions provider Intuit Australia - the company behind QuickBooks Online – for Australian entrepreneurs starting a new small business, however, success isn’t only measured in dollar terms.

And, according to Intuit, the survey highlighted that less than half (44%) of the owners of small startup businesses are very satisfied with the way they run their companies, but “whether it’s passion or wanting to be your own boss that triggers a startup business, the key to success is better planning and financial management”.

Nicolette Maury, Managing Director of Intuit Australia, says it is clear from the study that start up business owners will need to be “patient and expect success to take upwards of two years”.

Maury points to the survey finding that one in four (27%) startup business owners have not been able to “get their companies to really hum”, while 58% wish they had done some things differently as they established their businesses – and, for Millennial business owners, that figure rises even higher to 70%.

The survey found that those startup owners regretted not:

•    Learning to better manage and track their finances (21%)

•    Preparing an effective business plan (18%)

•    Spending more money on marketing (15%)

The Intuit survey - conducted by Galaxy Research - also reveals that, outside of financial rewards, success for startup business owners is measured in confidence, work-life balance, the flexibility of working from home, and even being able to decide whether to chase growth or not.

But, Maury says that with more than half (56%) still relying on ledgers or spreadsheets to handle their operations, “they are not yet tapping into the power of the affordable online financial management packages that are now available to every new business”.

According to Maury, the time savings, streamlined invoicing and access to accurate financial and inventory information help solve many of the problems experienced by busy entrepreneurs.

Maury also says the survey found that 43% of owners do not currently use an accountant or bookkeeper to monitor the financial and compliance side of the operation, and even those who do use them are not leveraging those relationships for advice or planning.

“This research is key to better understanding how Australia’s entrepreneurs are approaching their small startup businesses.

We are passionate about helping them set the right foundations for long term success, including educating them on the power of cloud accounting.”

Intuit also found that age and gender have an enormous influence on why people look to start a business, including:

•    Women want to be their own boss (50%) or to supplement their or their family’s income (23%)

•    21% of Baby Boomer entrepreneurs started their own business because they were laid off, and

•    Millennials are more likely to be driven by the passion for an idea (35%) or a hobby (19%).

Maury says Intuit acknowledges the hard work required to bring new ventures to fruition and recognises the value of SMBs to Australia’s economy. The company is lead sponsor of the nationwide Startup Weekend Australia program scheduled across the country from March to help local innovators succeed.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).