Business owners need to find the best support they can afford

By Bob Weir,  September 16, 2015

The owners of small businesses have to cover many roles across their business and often with little support. They need help to achieve the success they seek, but in many cases they either don't look for it, or they have trouble finding the right help at the right price.

Many of the advisors, banks, funders, and all those servicing small business have difficulty helping the really small businesses. These small businesses are fragmented, costly to engage with and most service providers can't offer even the most basic support and make it financially viable.

So why does this matter?

Consider these figures from Statistics NZ.

  • Of the 480,000 businesses in New Zealand around 425,000 have five or fewer employees (we call them Under 5 small businesses).
  • Approximately 325,000 have no employees.
  • Under 5 small businesses contribute approximately 30% to New Zealand’s GDP and employ 12% of its employees.
  • Unfortunately Under 5 small businesses are 10 times more likely to fail than larger organisations.

The service and support available for business in New Zealand tends to be focused on larger organisations, exporters or businesses with high growth potential. Very few of the Under 5’s in New Zealand fit into these categories and simply do the best they can.

Business owners need to find the best support they can afford. New Zealand's DIY attitude may often mean Under 5s battle on alone, hoping to sort things out but often slipping further into difficulties. 

Owners need to think about the unique challenges of owning and running an Under 5 small business.

Succeeding in an Under 5 small business must start with recognition that business, family and personal lives connect in ways that don’t apply to bigger businesses. The challenges of small businesses are often unique, so looking for solutions that 'the big guys might do' often won’t work. Most Under 5 small businesses start for lifestyle reasons. They are owned or operated by families or people in relationships (e.g husband and wife). The owners are typically juggling not only every aspect of the business but also the needs of the family.

So if you believe this describes you consider a few things:

  • Accept that you have many roles to fill in your Under 5.
  • Accept that you can’t be good at all of them nor will you enjoy all of them.
  • Seek out help. It is out there and you may have to spend some money to get the help you need.
  • You can’t do it all. You will have limited time and money so you have to prioritise.
  • Be kind to yourself. Small business can be tough and if you don’t care for yourself you won’t be able to care for your business.