Tough competition is the number one barrier for growth for Australian SMEs, according to the State of Small Business Global Report by TradeGecko.


Globally more than 80% of SMEs surveyed reported maintaining or growing revenue in 2018 despite stiff competition against global rivals.


The report polled 573 commerce businesses from 24 countries around the world, including 129 from Australia.


In total, the small businesses surveyed worldwide employed some 107,000 people and sold AU$2.6 billion in products last year.


Globally, emerging SMEs relied most on word of mouth to generate buzz about their products on Facebook (74%) and Instagram (43%) being the dominant social media platforms.


Australian SMEs also tended to favour Instagram (42%) and YouTube (31%) more than their US counterparts.


TradeGecko co-founder and CEO Cameron Priest said the social media and technology are driving forces for SMEs finding success.


“Small businesses are punching above their weight when it comes to competing in the global market against large firms with big teams and big budgets.


“That is certainly reflected in the findings for Australia.


“Social media and digital platforms are enabling SMEs to reach new audiences and to scale but the competition is tough.


“Technology can help to level the playing field.”


Product sourcing is the most time-consuming activity for Australian SMEs, with operators spending on average 53.6 hours a month versus their American counterparts who spend on average 35.3 hours a month.


Australian SMEs are more tech savvy than their American counterparts.


Only 11% of Australians were using pen and paper to manage their inventories, while 22% were using technology in their inventory and order management processes.


51% of Australian SMEs reported concerns about lost time and productivity, while owners said they would like to spend more time on marketing, sales and product development.


“Being a business founder means being a 'Jack and Jill of all trades' but as your business succeeds you can leverage technology not just to sell product but to build scalable operational systems that will support future growth,” Priest said.


“Flexible online tools give small and medium-sized businesses the superpowers they need to compete with larger rivals and ultimately free up business owners to do what they do best, build amazing businesses.”

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