How can small business future-proof against the next Covid-style catastrophe?

Building resilience needs to be the key priority for Australia’s SMEs, research shows

Small businesses still in post-pandemic recovery mode can take action to future-proof against the next big shake-up.

University of Southern Queensland professor Dr Tapan Sarker’s latest research explores how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can survive disruption – whether it’s a pandemic, another financial crisis, or a natural disaster.

The research paper, produced in collaboration with researchers across the world, details the challenges of post-pandemic business.

Dr Sarker said small and medium businesses played a key role in regional development and were the centre point of the Australian economy and must be supported if the country wanted a healthy economy.

He said many enterprises were left exposed to financial hardship during the economic challenges of Covid-19.

This left them at risk of closing down or floundering to recover, leading to macro effects across the Australian economy.

Dr Sarker’s research proposes key solutions to building capability within business models, including collaboration with other businesses and embracing hybrid operating modes.

He said smart financing models were crucial for the sector and that finance fine-tuned for smaller businesses would be key to increasing resilience in SMEs.

This could include innovative public-private financial partnerships, facilitated by legislation or public collateral.

“Building resilience is the key to helping enterprises survive.” Dr Sarker said.

“This is the difference for businesses that make it through challenges such as the recent floods across eastern Australia, compared to those who are forced to close.”

SMEs’ Changing Organisational Landscape: Strategising the Workplace of the Future is available at European Business Review.

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