Australian small business needs to adjust its sails...
The taxi app, Hailo, recently released survey results that 40% of British phone owners rarely use their phones to make phone calls (https://www.rt.com/uk/201251-uk-smartphone-call-apps/).
It's a similar situation where I am currently, in the Philippines. The use of communications apps such as Whats App and Facebook Messenger is preferred to making expensive calls using the phone's call feature or sending an sms. It makes sense - communications apps provide multiple options and they're generally free so they save money. In 2014, I moved back to my home country of Australia to take a role with Woodside Petroleum in Perth. I was surprised at how few people I met used any apps. I found Australians typically use standard phone call and sms services (which are extremely expensive!). The world has changed considerably but I have found many of my fellow Australians generally have not embraced the change and the resulting increased benefits and lower cost.
Over the past 20 years, due a number of factors including a huge resources boom, the country had become extremely successful...and expensive. Australia is currently ranked as the 5th most expensive country in the world (http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.jsp). This, in turn, has also significantly impacted business costs. This wasn't such an issue while revenues were high, but the resource boom is over and the current Australian economic outlook is not looking so rosy.
One highly effective cost reduction strategy available to small business is to outsource business services offshore to low-cost countries, including the Philippines and India. Apart from the reduced cost, there are numerous other benefits. Offshoring is not a new concept - smart Australian businesses have been benefiting from lower operating costs due to offshoring for more than 20 years. Generally, Australian small businesses have been slow to embrace offshoring. This is probably partly because business has been so good for so long but it's probably also due to the massive misinformation and large degree of ignorance on offshoring in Australia. Common incorrect notions include: work is being done in office sweatshops; that the work can only be completed to the right standard by Australians; and that only big business can benefit from offshoring.
Australian small businesses are starting to hurt as the economy slows. These businesses should be reviewing how they do business and identifying opportunities to make significant and, in some cases, radical changes, to reduce cost and increase the chances of success or even just survival. Offshoring should be part of the cost reduction equation. Small businesses should take time now to be understand how offshoring works, identifying reputable and reliable companies that are experienced in dealing with Australians and then getting quotes on cost.
Thousands of Australian companies have already offshored functions of their business here in the Philippines. Australia's Telstra is now the largest employer of Filipinos in outsourced services in the Philippines. Just like the reluctance of Australians to use mobile phone apps, there are more effective and lower costs ways of doing business and Australian small businesses need to adjust their sails...
Andrew Styles is a (firstname.lastname@example.org)