Prospa partnered with BusinessDesk to produce a new webinar series designed to provide clarity to small business owners around the issues affecting them. The three-part series offers an insight into the world of your small business clients – the challenges they’re facing, the matters they consider a priority, and what assistance they’re looking for now. 

Here are the key takeaways from each episode. 

How to recruit and retain staff

In the first webinar, which focused on how to recruit and retain staff, we learnt that while staffing issues are keeping business owners up at night, there are steps for owners to take to hold onto the talent they’ve got – and, when needed, find qualified help. 

Step one is to make employee wellbeing a top priority. It’s now less about gym memberships and fruit bowls, the panel explained, and more about understanding what truly matters to staff. That could be access to an employee assistance program, the opportunity to learn or train more, or just to have their voice heard and included in business discussions. 

With fewer employees, small businesses can also do something most big companies never achieve – get to know every one of their staff members. The panel explained how one-on-one conversations really count when it comes to preventing staff turnover. The opportunity for more training and development is another great motivator for staying in a job – as is an inviting company culture. 

These challenges aren’t going to disappear overnight, so business owners can’t afford to sit around and wait for things to get better. Consider encouraging your small business clients to act now to improve their HR strategies to ensure they make it through these tough times. 

Watch the HR webinar and share it with your small business clients:

How to improve digital marketing

Strategies to improve the digital marketing of small businesses was the topic of the second webinar. In the current environment, digital marketing will make or break a business – and social media is an accessible entry point. 

From Facebook to Instagram to TikTok, different social platforms are best for reaching different audiences. Panellist Mike Hutcheson, Co-Founder of Colenso, believes that this makes it even more important to figure out customer personas, including:

  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • What they read, watch and listen to 
  • Where they get information and stories 
  • What sort of stories prompt a response from them

Ben Goodale, CEO of Quantum Jump, stressed the importance of simple and authentic storytelling via social media messaging. 

“Think about the simplicity of the story you’re trying to tell,” he said. “Don’t overload it with lots of detail. Focus on the core message. What is the single most important thing that you want people to take out? You don’t have to have a multi-million-dollar budget, you just have to have a good idea and a good product or service. 

“Kiwis love to support fellow Kiwis, and that’s a real advantage. Be real and authentic, so people can see you’re a real person like them.”

Watch the digital marketing webinar and share it with your small business clients:

How to thrive in a digital environment

The third and final webinar offered up four major highlights for small businesses owners looking to undergo a digital transformation: 

  • Get online. “COVID has shown us that New Zealanders are very happy to shop online,” explained Duncan Shand, Founder and Director of YoungShand. “New Zealand businesses need to get online and have a slick service, otherwise they’re going to be left behind.” 
  • Utilise technology. Larger companies often have more resources to invest in digital tools, which can leave smaller businesses feeling like they’re unable to compete. In fact, there are accessible tools, such as Mailchimp and Shopify, waiting to be used. 
  • Be responsive. The size of small businesses can also be beneficial when driving sales due to the timely response owners can give to inquiries. “A customer wants to feel like they’re being cared for, and that their individual behaviours and preferences are being catered to,” said Becky Erwood, Founder and Director of FED. 
  • Try, and try again. “Don’t wait for perfection,” said Duncan. “All of it is about trying and failing. Do a lot of A/B testing. Try something and see the results.” 

Watch the digital transformation webinar and share it with your small business clients:

The key takeaway from each of these episodes: just as business owners are encouraged to understand their business from the customer’s point of view, so too can brokers understand the HR stresses or opportunities of their clients – and offer suggestions accordingly.