Small business owners - this is your call to action


As a large chunk of the Australian economy – and arguably, the most innovative, flexible and nimble sector – small, medium and micro businesses will have a significant role to play in kicking the economy from slow-motion into high gear over the coming months. 

By Michael Mekhitarian

Let's talk about the iPod


The iPod’s place in history may have been short-lived (as are many great technological inventions that naturally become upgraded and eventually superseded) but it’s nonetheless significant. 

Not just because it delivered music to our pockets in a funky personalised device, but because it was an invention that came out of the Tech Wreck in the year 2000. 

As technology companies were suffering post-crash, scrambling to regain their popularity and market share, Apple came up with the sleekly designed, ingenious iPod. 

Tapping into current needs


The iPod put its clunky predecessors the walkman and the discman and the MP3 player instantly to shame and became a global phenomenon almost overnight. 

The iPod embodies the kind of innovation that only comes about in desperate times. And, therefore, the lesson for us now, is that despite the massive disruption we’re facing with Covid-19, there is real opportunity for those who actively look for it. 

And this is not necessarily about inventing something new. There’s a hell of a lot of pressure in that.

BUT… it is about ‘entrepreneurial thinking’ … that is, how small businesses can assist the currently struggling economy by tapping into the consumer psyche and the needs presented by the present situation, and finding ways to fulfil them.  

For example, a few months ago the big distillers swiftly diversified into producing hand sanitiser when it was in short supply, and they have benefitted very handsomely, winning both consumer praise and loyalty, and also steady profits. It’s just one example of how adversity was turned into an opportunity. 

Have you noticed that almost every shop you go into now has clear perspex screens at the counter to place a protective barrier between customers and staff?   

Or take a scroll through Facebook and you’ll see Mumpreneurs making stylish face masks and selling them at weekend markets and in online buy/swap groups. Elastic, I’m told, is currently in short supply all over Australia – could this be related to the fact that face masks are fast becoming a fashion accessory and not just a health safeguard? 

Professional cleaning services are in more demand than ever before, as both updated health regulations and consumer expectation demand better hygiene in public spaces.

Online gift delivery businesses are booming because people can’t turn up in person to birthday parties and wedding anniversaries. In the US, one company started a business that allows you to order a personalised Happy Birthday voice message from your favourite rock star or movie star. With $12 and at least 48 hours notice, you or a nominated recipient receive the message. This is an idea that will have legs long after coronavirus.  It’s quirky and it’s a great gift for someone with a celebrity crush. Plus it’s affordable and it has worldwide appeal. 

This is a time of magnificent opportunity. Make no mistake.

Get professional advice


Absolutely … with opportunity comes risk, but the good news is that risk can be mitigated. If you know your market, and you know your business, then you’re unlikely to fail. 

It all comes down to knowledge and planning. And at ATB Partners we have more than 60 years of combined experience helping small, medium and micro businesses. We know the unique challenges you face, but we also have a suite of proprietary tools, such as the ‘Growth Equation’ that can be used to drill down into your business numbers and identify areas of profitability and opportunity. We can help you figure out how to fund your idea and get it to market. 

As a starting point, download our free eBook, the Small Business Success Formula – 5 steps to taking control of your small business. Take a wander around our website where you’ll find a great deal of information in the articles and videos too. 

We’re here to help, so talk to us. This is a critical time for small business, but with the right business strategies in place, the small business sector can take the lead and pull Australia out of this current predicament, and thrive well into the future.