Written by Alex Hodgkinson.  This article is part of our Red Papers business content series.

As a small or medium-sized enterprise owner (SME), your business really matters to Australia.  SMEs account for 67 percent of our nation’s total employment, and a recent study rated Australian SME’s the most confident about the global economy.

So, here’s a scenario for you.  You are working hard, and building a solid team of employees. But business is beginning to stagnate. There are few fresh ideas, and you are frustrated with the lack of leads coming in.  It’s likely because your business is at a point where, as the leader, you need to spend less time working in the business. Instead, you need to commit time to working on the business to thrive in the SME world.

Here are some simple ways to help you focus on the big picture and work smarter on your business.

Refine your Goals

Building a performance driven culture in your business starts with being very specific about your goals, for you and for your employees. As an entrepreneur you probably have lists upon lists of goals, but how organised are they? Break them down into long term and short term. Write a plan.  There are numerous online templates and guides available, so it doesn’t need to be an onerous task.  Make sure everyone – you, your employees and the company itself have scalable goals you can all work towards.  Be specific, and keep detailed records of your progress.

Empower your employees

How do you encourage them to be as dedicated and passionate as you are about your business? Keep your employees’ skillsets up to date to make them successful at their job and keep them motivated. They can and should be made to feel directly connected to the success and growth of your business. Being recognised as an integral component is a point of pride and does wonders for morale and motivation. It also leads to a better experience for the customer, and that experience has to be positive if you want to set yourself apart and build your business.

Build a good relationship with your employees

Good managers give their employees two things:  goals and ownership. That said, don’t micromanage. Let your employees have plenty of space to use their talents and learn new skills. Let go control of things you’re not good at.  Do what you’re the best at, and lean on others to help you with things you don’t want to do.


Success can be as simple as finding time to network.  Build a support network to keep an eye on the shifting landscape, and also for friendship. Meeting new people in the larger business community may not be your thing, but getting better at it can help you grow and your business prosper.  Think about the positives.  Joining trade groups as well as online networking groups like LinkedIn and TEDx can lead to partnership and cross-promotion opportunities.  And, opening your mind to analysing other businesses in your networks will give you an insight into what your competitors are doing right, and reveal strategies that you might be able to use to make more money in your own business.

Business coaching

Meeting regularly with a personal business coach can take you outside the vacuum of your business to give you objectivity and clarity. Few SME leaders trained to be bosses and their tasks are self- appointed, based on fires and priorities. That lack of expertise can be ruinous. For a relatively small investment, a coach can help you manage effectively.  You can learn how to think clearly about your business, identify trouble spots, and devise an action plan for the healthy growth of your business.

Marie Kondo your business

Remove everything that isn’t contributing to a happier, healthier and more productive work place. Old files, employees who leave their work to others, resource sucking clients…let them go.  De-cluttering your office and your head space will lead you to become a better and more confident decision maker in life and business.

Embrace Technology

76 per cent of Australian SMEs adopted new technologies between 2016 and 2018, in part to reduce costs, speed up distribution and give access to new markets, both here and overseas. You can do away with paper. Cloud based bookkeeping and accounting services better manage your payroll, staff rosters and time sheets, and allow you to issue invoices on the spot using your mobile phone. will help you in ways you never thought possible.  Using your phone,  IoT enables you to monitor everything from delivery trucks to parking spots to environmental conditions on the farm. Plus take your phone overseas to 80 countries for $5 day –  allowing you to stay connected to your business whilst travelling.  For all of this, Vodafone provides personalised services for 10+ connections to help SME business with their individual business needs, with a dedicated Australian-based Account Manager, and a support team available 24/7.

Find out how you could be eligible for great savings by signing up to our new Business Plans. Just leave your details in the form below and one of our Business Specialists will get back to you.


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