Does your small business have a supportive network? Here’s why it’s so...

Does your small business have a supportive network? Here’s why it’s so important

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Whether your business is in its infancy stage or has been around for years, having a supportive network can help you pave the way for success.

Optus recently spoke with our SMB customer base, and found that 46 per cent of SMBs seek advice and expertise from other business owners, with a further 61 per cent saying they have experienced a time where they felt isolated.

We work with businesses every day to overcome the various challenges they face. Building on our learnings and expertise in this area, we have launched Optus Yes Business, an online platform to connect SMB owners to reliable support and advice on a range of business related topics, all in the one place.

SMBs can take advantage of online platforms which can help grow their network and develop their business. For instance, the Yes Business community hub can help them to:

Learn new business skills

Community hubs help provide business owners the opportunity to learn new skills. By broadening their business knowledge, SMB owners have the opportunity to improve their ability to lead a successful business. A mentality of collaboration permeates digital communities, and those online are generous with their knowledge, insights and information.

Community hubs allow SMB owners to seek free advice and expertise that may be unfamiliar to their specific business. The potential to collaborate with other experts means business owners are able to gain and share business insights and industry benchmarks, ultimately helping business owners with tips and strategies to overcome change and problems within SMBs, to ensure a better team and work environment.

Make connections

Networking matters – and digital communities offer an unobtrusive way to make connections. Small business owners might be looking for other connections beyond friends and family when they face business-related challenges. Having access to a community of like-minded business professionals allows owners to develop influential relationships, learn insights from stakeholders or customers, and meet specialists who can help with your challenges.

Networking could improve internal and external business relations and can also assist in tackling common and tricky issues. In our research, we found that more than 22 per cent of SMBs feel there is not enough information available to help them run a successful business, online networks can act as a platform to learn and to teach other owners new skills.

Discover business growth opportunities

SMB owners looking to expand their business may not know how to obtain the necessary funding to make it happen, or even that there is possible funding available to them.

Community hubs, such as Yes Business, can offer a wealth of information on the financial support available to SMB owners such as grants, incentive programmes and schemes in Australia.

Have a sounding board

From hiring an accountant to choosing a vendor, business owners make hundreds of decisions a week. A digital community not only provides suggested tried-and-tested recommendations, but also warn of pitfalls and bad experiences.  Asking for tips may result in an easy-to-do action now – such as adding a small clause to a contract – that could save a business owner thousands of dollars later.

Often, owners find themselves relying too much on the advice of family and friends, who may be well-intentioned but won’t necessarily have the insights or learning to provide the best advice. Yes Business includes articles and advice from experts in their fields, including professors and other business owners.

For SMBs, that expertise is a lifeline.

Matthew Ball is the VP of Optus SMB.

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