Discover the modern entrepreneur in Australia
Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the Australian economy. Small family businesses generate over a third of the country’s GDP and provide two-thirds of all jobs on the island. In particular, this number is increasing year by year.
But who is the Australian entrepreneur? This is exactly the question Frost & Sullivan and Oracle NetSuite have decided to answer in their new joint report. “Entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific‘, for which they interviewed more than 500 founders / managers of small family businesses in eight economies (including Australia).
Main objective of the study: to discover the Australian entrepreneur and explore what sets him apart from his counterparts in other countries. In doing so, the researchers examined a range of business and personal characteristics of entrepreneurs, from their backgrounds, characteristics and motivations to the impact of Covid-19 on their business, the attributes of their success and what they consider to be. important trends for the future. .
To learn more about the Aussie-specific results, we asked Jason Toshack (Managing Director ANZ at Oracle NetSuite) four questions:
Who is the Australian entrepreneur?
We keep reading about entrepreneurial wonders, but the reality is a little different in Australia as most entrepreneurs are currently 45 and over. Australians also tend to start businesses later than their APAC counterparts – more Australians started their current business earlier than any other APAC market studied. This indicates a preference for gaining experience first and learning the tools of the trade before going it alone.
In addition, the gender balance in Australia is almost equal to parity – 54% men and 46% women – while in the rest of APAC two-thirds of businesses are owned by men. Indeed, it’s encouraging to see local success stories like Melanie Perkins of Canva demonstrate that entrepreneurship is for everyone, regardless of gender or background.
There was a strong bias towards the retail sector of respondents, with a third of Australian entrepreneurs operating in this space (followed in second place by professional services at 20%). It is also quite common for entrepreneurs to start additional businesses, as 29% of Australian entrepreneurs have done so successfully. This dynamic mix of entrepreneurship shows that Australians really adhere to the mantra of ‘give it a try’.
What helps entrepreneurs be successful?
“Willingness to work hard” was cited as the most important attribute (19% even rated it number one) for success. But hard work does not equate to menial and manual processes, as evidenced by more than half of Australian entrepreneurs (58%) who said technology was ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to the success of their business .
A good example of this is how the Bladnoch Distillery team used technology to scale operations during the height of Covid-19. Many of their customers, mostly hotel companies, have been forced to close as lockdown conditions have been imposed. Fortunately, Bladnoch had invested in the technology ahead of time, so they could move their operations online and open e-commerce sites as an alternative sales channel. The result? Global whiskey sales are down 25%, but Bladnoch has seen revenue growth of over 20% thanks to its quick thinking ability and robust technology.
Of course, there will be times when entrepreneurs won’t do things right or prepare for the future adequately. When asked ‘what is the most important lesson you learned as a business owner as a result of Covid-19’, ‘have a flexible business model (33%) and’ have a crisis / emergency plan ”(20%) emerged as the two most important lessons learned.
How can consultants add value?
Consultants can add value by taking a step back and evaluating the business from a more pragmatic perspective.
When entrepreneurs were asked what they would do differently if they started over, answer number one was to change things that weren’t working faster. It’s tricky when the business is yours, whether it’s because of a dedication to an idea or because you may be too focused on the job to realize that changes are imperative.
Next is “invest more time in business planning”. This is probably a lesson learned from the backlog. Many entrepreneurs have great vision, and those who are successful all have great work ethics, but not all of them have the ability or the time to develop comprehensive roadmaps for their businesses.
These are areas where consultants can really shine and apply their business acumen and in-depth understanding of the industry to support the entrepreneur’s vision.
What’s the next step for entrepreneurs?
There is no single archetype for the modern Australian entrepreneur. They come from all walks of life and bring their skills and passion to the businesses they create. It is, however, clear that the Australian entrepreneur is ready to go for miles and remain resilient through thick and thin.
Despite the tough times, it seems the Australian spirit is hard to break, as most Australian entrepreneurs (83%) surfaced last year confident in their businesses and the next stage of their growth. Using the right technology, the ability to adapt to change, and robust business and scenario planning are cornerstones that will serve entrepreneurs well.