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What Makes NZ's Small Businesses Tick

9 May 2006

Vero Reveals What Makes New Zealand's Small Businesses Tick

On the eve of the opening of the second annual Small Business Expo in Auckland, leading New Zealand insurance company Vero is sharing fresh insight into this important part of our economy.

Vero Chief Executive Roger Bell says, "96 percent of all New Zealand businesses have fewer than 20 full time equivalent staff and almost 65 percent define themselves as sole traders, meaning the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) sector is without doubt the backbone of New Zealand business."

"As a major sponsor of the Small Business Expo and part of our goal to become a truly world class business we've undertaken research to better understand the needs of our SME customers and their business drivers."

The focus groups that included in depth interviews nationwide found that most owners are 'emotionally invested' in their businesses. This means they tend to be self- resourcing, and experience long hours and considerable stress. Often there is no buffer to protect them if they make a bad business decision and they can be so close to their business they are cautious about handing over control to others. However, on a positive note they report enjoying freedom and flexibility and like having control of their own destiny.

Some of the common challenges facing our SME sector include:

* Finding and retaining the right staff
* Juggling cash flow
* Compliance and paper work
* Finding new customers - but not growing too fast
* Technology - both the expense and its constantly changing nature
* Dealing with multiple suppliers

Roger Bell says when it comes to insurance, SME can also find it difficult to accurately assess their risks and may end up under insured. "This is where the role of the broker can be vital in helping identify appropriate products to ensure the SME is free to get on with the business of doing business."

The Small Business Expo opens tomorrow at the ASB Showgrounds. Vero will present the full findings of its research to its intermediary partners at a business breakfast that morning. It is also sponsoring the Vero Business Support Zone and is the naming rights sponsor for the second annual Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards. Winners will be named at a gala dinner at the Logan Campbell Centre on Thursday evening.


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