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The global COVID-19 pandemic has transformed lives worldwide and put a huge strain on our established workplace norms. From disrupting business’ supply chains to enforcing a mass shift towards working from home, organisations have had to adapt to a rapid rate of change unparalleled in modern history.

One of the worst parts of this economic crisis is the uneven way in which it has affected enterprise. With government-ordered lockdowns globally, some businesses have ceased trading altogether whilst others have remained trading in a reduced capacity or adapted operations with social distancing in mind. Even businesses able to fully mobilise a work from home policy have struggled. But regardless of the organisation’s operational model, the pandemic has hit small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the hardest.

 

Comparing big business vs small business success…

Larger corporations have come out of this economic shock relatively well off. Many of Australia’s national or global chains have detailed contingency plans and extensive funds to help pivot operations during times of economic duress to keep them financially viable. With established systems in place to secure as many of their own jobs as possible, some of the largest businesses have even grown despite the economic climate.

Typically SMEs run on much lower margins and with lower cash reserves than bigger businesses. It makes sense that any lengthy disruption would disproportionately affect smaller companies. This is bad news for the Australian economy; as an example, 47% of Victoria’s private sector jobs alone stem from SME employers, according to Business Victoria. Small businesses are key to the success of the state – and national – economy.

Many consumers, even whole communities, have recognised that fact and rallied around their local coffee shop or neighbourhood fruit and veg market rather than supporting larger businesses they may have used otherwise. For many SMEs, this small act of choosing the high street over major conglomerates has saved them from bankruptcy. This same mentality, however, has not transcended across organisations in all sectors.

 

Rallying around local SMEs…

This call to support for small businesses has primarily gained momentum in the hospitality and retail sectors, backing local restaurants and small shops over national chains or ecommerce websites. However, professional services organisations and companies in the technical sectors, such as engineering and technology, are being left behind and also deserve financial support. These businesses also need to take this time to future-proof their operations, using data-driven decision making to adapt operations to suit a business environment unrecognisable from just 12 months ago.

Data analytics can provide clear insights into the complicated business situations that we are faced with and help navigate the path forward. Therefore, many have taken this turbulent time to use data analysis to examine their business operations and establish improvements that could be made to their organisation’s strategy.

 

Backing yourself with a business consultant…

Every business can use the power of data analytics to equalise the current extenuating economic circumstances. But implementing any new data analytics tool is useless unless you have the experience to apply what you learn from the data practically in day-to-day operations. That’s why a business consultant experienced in data processing, analysis and utilisation can be a game-changer for struggling organisations.

Businesses can access these skills on tap without the need to train new in-house staff or learn how to use data analytics tools themselves, which means that they can start delivering high-value outcomes for their operations sooner. Cast Solutions is a Victorian SME that has helped other local companies to revamp operations with data integration and analytics services, getting vital utilities and construction projects shovel-ready more effectively.

  

Strengthening Australia’s SME identity…

Every business leader has felt the stress, fear for the future that has defined the world of business in 2020. We must reconsider how we operate during this time and how we can do right by the SME community as well as serving our own self interests. By focusing on supporting small businesses across all professional industries, consumers will be backing the collective strength of Australia’s national economy, defined as it is by the enterprise of local entrepreneurs. This change in behaviour has to go beyond just buying coffee from the local cart rather than Starbucks; businesses should utilise SMEs to support every aspect of their operations.

Cast Solutions boasts a team of experienced business consultants, with the expertise of a much bigger business, able to effectively analyse the unique needs of its clients. We offer data analytics and business intelligence solutions that help companies drive powerful changes. This data-driven transformation is central to how an organisation adapts to the ebbs and flows of its industry, especially in the current economic conditions. Working with our business consultants can also help to identify operational weak spots that can be plugged with the help of a local enterprise. Together, we can ensure SMEs remain a part of our economic patchwork; that’s a win for Australia.