Cost the biggest barrier to innovation: MYOB
With innovation the economic buzzword of the moment, many SMEs are still struggling to meet the cost demandsof introducing and developing their own innovations, according to the latest research from MYOB.
The MYOB Business Monitor, a biannual national survey of over 1,000 SME business owners, has revealed the growing realisation amongst small businesses that technology can lead to greater efficiency and better customer service.
According to the survey results, 31 per cent of SMEs acquired new computer hardware or software, while 26 per cent obtained new machinery and equipment.
"At a time when knowledge is recognised as the key to Australia's future prosperity, it's great to see SMEs investing in acquiring knowledge," noted MYOB chief technical officer Simon Raik-Allen.
Despite a willingness to actively seek innovative practices, the survey results also revealed that the costs involved in development and the introduction of innovation into a business proved to be the most significant barrier, as identified by 28 per cent of respondents.
Government regulation (23 per cent) and a lack of R&D funding (14 per cent) were also flagged as significant barriers to entry.
"Noting that access to investment was a barrier for some, another significant finding was that 55 per cent of operators had not sourced any capital or finance in the last 12 months, showing that most SMEs are self-reliant when it comes to capital cash," Mr Raik-Allen noted.
Mr Raik-Allen also added that while funding was obviously a clear issue, the ongoing focus on innovation may start to change the landscape for SMEs.
"We could see this mix start to change with the entry into the Australian market of specialised small business lenders.
"The good news is that the Turnbull government has placed innovation at the centre of its policy platform, including addressing regulatory barriers around start-ups and encouraging investment in R&D," he concluded.