Small businesses don’t sit still – and understanding what motivates and moves its people is important to us at Xero. By learning more about what makes our customers tick we can sense-check where we’re getting things right, and what needs to change.

Our network of expert advisors are ingrained in this knowledge-exchange too, both as small businesses themselves and advisors to them. Together, we rely on the latest small business insights.

Small Spark survey results

That’s why I love Xero’s Small Spark survey, which recently canvassed the opinions of more than 340 small business owners across Australia and New Zealand to identify the key factors that drive people to go out on their own.

It gives us a unique chance to learn more about the small spark that every business owner has experienced. I’m talking about those lightbulb moments that happen so subtly but can change people’s lives.

The details always tell the story – and our survey results show the reasons small business owners start their businesses, what they most value in their roles, or even whether they received financial help at the start. By colouring in this detail, we can be more relevant than ever.

Opportunity in the unknown

The survey contains many insights, which you can review in more detail below, but there was one statistic that really stood out for me.

Almost one in six (16 per cent) Australian respondents were spurred to start their own business after having difficulty finding full time employment due to barriers such as language, age, disability, and skills.

This pull-out figure makes me think once again about the tenacity of our customers. If you’re starting a business because the world isn’t giving you a fair chance, chances are you won’t sit back and play by the book. You get out there and make your dreams a reality.

We’re not selling a static product to an uninspired group of people here. We’re creating the tools and technology for some of Australia’s most forward-thinking people; people who go out on a limb to take matters into their own hands.

I don’t know about you, but this is where Xero becomes deeply meaningful for us. And reminders like the Small Spark survey focus us on what’s important.

Additional insights

Other insights from the Xero Small Spark survey include:

  • More than half of Aussie (55 per cent) small business owners cite wanting to be their own boss as the reason for starting their business
  • A desire to increase their income was the second biggest reason with 42 per cent of respondents indicating this is the reason they went out on their own
  • More than two in five (41 per cent) Aussie small business owners began their venture in search of more freedom and a better lifestyle
  • Close to three-quarters (72 per cent) of respondents say they go above and beyond for their customers all the time. Some 55 per cent of respondents said they had taken meetings outside ‘business hours’ while 52 per cent threw in freebies or add-ons to win customer loyalty. A further 49 per cent said they often chipped in their own time to the business
  • More than a quarter (28 per cent) of Australian small businesses said they were successful from day one, with a further 38 per cent becoming a success within the first year.

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