Digital Boost NZ


23rd February, 2021

What is Digital Boost and how can NZ SMEs take advantage?

The New Zealand Government’s Digital Boost initiative is designed to help SMEs acquire digital skills and tools to make their businesses more resilient in the face of disruption.

Going digital provides countless benefits for businesses. Whether it be streamlining complicated processes, connecting brands to audiences or uncovering innovative ways to do business, a little digital knowledge can go a long way.

But that doesn’t mean learning all things digital is easy. Digital knowledge is often confusing and dedicating time to understand the nuances can be tough for SMEs.

While it’s fair to see why some business owners are hesitant to make the leap to digital, Krissy Sadler-Bridge, MYOB NZ’s senior sales manager, believes it’s a must for businesses both new and old.

“It’s incredibly important that SMEs are maximising the use of the right digital tools to make certain they’re meeting tax obligations and running their businesses as efficiently as possible,” she said.

“The Government’s Digital Boost initiative offers SMEs a real lifeline when it comes digitising common business processes in a hurry.”

How Digital Boost benefits SMEs

Digital Boost is an initiative designed to equip New Zealand business owners with relevant digital know-how. It achieves this with a self-paced program combining expert-led courses with learnings from the business community. And, best of all, it’s free.

Knowing how to upskill can be unclear at the best of times, but Digital Boost’s courses teach digital skills as they relate to specific industries. Skills include:

  • Digital tools — understand how the cloud, booking and payment systems and assorted productivity tools can help lift the load
  • Websites — discover how to set up or improve a website and use it to entice buyers
  • Digital marketing — find out how social media, email marketing and online advertising can get your name out there.
  • Small business accounting — learn the ins and outs of accounting software like MYOB
  • Customer insights & business growth — understand how to collect, analyse, and act on data to target your ideal customers.
  • Future technologies — see how exciting concepts like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and 3D printing are changing the way business works

Internet-based education might send many business owners running for the hills, but ease of learning is one of Digital Boost’s primary goals.

Rather than use abstract how-to guides, Digital Boost combine courses with hands-on learning. These learnings include live Q&A sessions with business experts and the opportunity to get in touch with small business owners on the same learning journey.

Why now is the time to digitise

Businesses expect to run into trouble every now and then, but 2020 showed just how difficult it could be.

“This past 12 months we’ve seen a unique set of challenges arising for SMEs,” said Sadler-Bridge.

Disruptions to business-as-usual were incredibly stark in 2020, but they have always existed in some form or other — and no doubt will continue to arise into the future.

“These range from restricted or changing business operations to fluctuating revenue, adjustments in employee wages and factoring Government subsidies.”

While surface-level information can inform business decisions, Sadler-Bridge believes that the most important material lies under the hood.

“As we’ve seen from our own MYOB data, while cashflow indicators were sitting 2.1 percent above a pre-COVID baseline at the end of last year, both invoice creation and payroll expenditure were down.

“This suggests changes to supply chain, workflows and employee wages – all of which shape tax and business planning calculations.”

While it might seem abstract on the surface, Sadler-Bridge’s example perfectly summarises how digital-savvy businesses can better prepare for – or prevent altogether – a financial tailspin.

Digital skills and tools empower businesses

While effectively using this data might leave many scratching their heads, it’s Digital Boost’s goal to make it feel like a walk in the park.

It’s important to remember that it’s not just data that informs the inner workings of business. There are actually countless ways for businesses to save themselves big with the right combination of digital tools and understanding.

“Many SMEs may also need to account for unexpected costs covering expenses like moving or setting up staff to work from home, or alternatively reductions in usual budgeted expenses such as stock and office supplies.”

If any of this strikes a chord, Digital Boost might be the solution for you. And it goes without saying that there’s never been a better time to go digital.