New Zealand SMEs are minuscule by international standards and will remain so because Kiwi business owners remain poor adopters of technology despite the time and complexity challenges they face – it's a dilemma that newly launched OneHQ aims to change.
"Most New Zealand companies are less than five people. We call ourselves small to medium businesses, but less than five people is a micro-business by world standards," says OneHQ CEO Hamish McLachlan. "A small business is actually five to 75 people, which would be considered significant by local standards.
"The size of local businesses is simply not big enough to be properly economical. The goal of OneHQ is to increase the productivity of NZ SMEs by helping them to leverage technology and make them more resilient to change, and therefore more likely to grow. In turn, this will help improve our national economy."
OneHQ is the brainchild of prominent New Zealand business leaders:
• Chris Chandler (founder of Aeroparks Auckland Airport Parking and New Zealand Jerky);
• Craig Cotton, (previously executive director of The Better Drinks Company);
• Warren Hughes (Equinox IT and CTO NZ Lotto);
• Harry Ferreira (former BNZ general manager small business);
• Niran and Vinay Iswar (formerly NexGen Accounting); and
• Hamish McLachlan (formerly head of small business at KPMG).
McLachlan says OneHQ brings multiple services, experience and expertise under one roof to deliver a better customer experience across a range of areas that most businesses need to use – including finance, accounting, technology and advisory.
"For example, business growth ideas need to be clearly planned. Growth needs funding to support that delivery; it means knowing your numbers and having easier access to that funding."
McLachlan says that OneHQ launches as a solution to the unique set of problems and circumstances now confronting small and medium businesses in New Zealand – issues that will keep business small unless addressed.
"SMEs will find it harder and harder to access funding in 2019 and beyond," McLachlan said. "While few are talking about it just yet, we don't doubt that the increasingly regulated financial environment is going to make it very difficult for SMEs to operate as they have in the past.
"Add to this rising costs from labour, fuel and compliance, and it very quickly becomes obvious that the sector that is also the major employer in New Zealand is going to be hurting in the not too distant future. It's hard to grow when you're just trying to get by."
McLachlan said OneHQ launches with a specific suite of services that form an integrated solution designed to help SMEs not just navigate what lies ahead but to grow in size."
"Odeh’s suite of lending, technology, accounting and advisory services form a unique combination that can help SMEs raise the funding they need and improve efficiencies and reduce costs through technology and smart accounting – all under the umbrella of a smart, cohesive business strategy.
"At the same time, we can use technology to introduce greater efficiencies into the business to free up capital the business owner didn't know he or she had – such as reducing the need to hold stock."
One example of technology is the integration of marketing and CRM automation software to take the pain out of hours spent on social media, answering emails and tracking prospective customers – technology allows that to happen in the background so the business owner can focus more strategically.