Small businesses are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy. Businesses with less than 20 employees make up 97 per cent of all enterprises, 29 per cent of all employees, and generate just over a quarter of New Zealand’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Even businesses with no employees (which include the self-employed) accounted for 63.7 per cent of businesses in 2018, and 13.6 per cent of sales. Source: MBIE NZ
It’s safe to say that small business ownership is absolutely vital to the health and wellbeing of our nation, and globally New Zealand ranks highly in terms of the number of small enterprises per head of population.
While the numbers do speak for themselves, let’s explore some of the nittier, grittier reasons why small businesses matter in New Zealand.
Small businesses create opportunities
Small businesses help towns and communities to prosper and often support worthy causes. They generally employ local people and support other local businesses.
It’s also true that small businesses can be highly innovative, creating new opportunities and wealth generation through entrepreneurial initiatives based around new technologies, products or services.
Many huge corporations start small
Small businesses, provided they can survive the challenges brought on by growth, eventually become large businesses—some with international trading potential and all contributing to the greater good of the economy.
Think about New Zealand’s biggest companies and brands—many began life as a very small business. Global brands as big as Facebook, Apple, IKEA, Alibaba, and Amazon were all incubated out of garages, home offices or bedrooms.
In New Zealand, brands such as The Warehouse, Michael Hill Jewellers, AJ Hackett Bungee, and Les Mills started life as small businesses too.
The key is to start small, but to think big!
A business is not a job
All business owners are technically ‘entrepreneurs’—helping create jobs and wealth and following their passion.
And therein lies the rub: the decision to launch or buy a business should never be driven simply by a desire to step off the job ‘treadmill’. Anecdotal evidence suggests that all successful businesses have been built around the owner’s vision and passion—the desire to provide a stand-out product or service, to meet a need in the market, to solve a problem, and to be successful.
Money should never be the prime motivator either—although, as a business grows it becomes a welcome, and useful, by-product.
It starts with a passion and becomes a great source of pride
As time goes by, you’ll discover that there are many life-changing benefits of business ownership, such as a sense of freedom and independence, of being in charge of your own destiny.
As any business owner will tell you, managing and growing a business inevitably presents risks and challenges. It involves long hours, dedication and hard work. But all that effort eventually pays off. You’ll acquire new skills; you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to worthy causes and, with growth, provide employment to others so they can realise their ambitions.
Your business can ultimately become a great source of satisfaction and pride. With careful stewardship, there is also the possibility of passing on a tangible asset to the next generation.
Business support is all around you
In New Zealand, small businesses benefit from highly active business support networks that range from individual mentors and advisors to well-resourced business development agencies. They all want to see you succeed.
As a business owner, you’ll never be alone. There is always someone to reach out to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
First, arm yourself with knowledge
It’s great to have the desire to succeed in business. But getting started in a business venture of your own is much more achievable when equipped with the right skills and knowledge. Our business foundation course in Auckland provides introductory training in administration and key technology skills. Now’s a good time to check it out!
With your passion, your goals, and a solid foundation of business training under your belt, your business will be off to the best possible start. Good luck!
“Starting and growing a business is as much about the innovation, drive and determination of the people who do it as it is about the product they sell.”
– Elon Musk