Last week, Membes had the incredible opportunity to attend and exhibit at the COSBOA National Small Business Summit, and what a stimulating and insightful experience it was! The event was packed with thought-provoking discussions, impactful speakers, and invaluable statistics. 

One of the highlights was the lineup of speakers who shared real, insights specifically resonating with small businesses. From the statistics provided by American Express and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to economic perspectives from the Reserve Bank of Australia, we gained a comprehensive understanding of the economic landscape and its implications for the small business sector. 

Of course, the addresses by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Hon. Peter Dutton MP, provided us with essential perspectives from government leaders on policies and support for small businesses. 

However, what truly stood out were the engaging panel discussions featuring small business owners and managers. Hearing their firsthand experiences, challenges, and passion was both humbling and motivating. It reaffirmed the importance of community and collaboration within the small business ecosystem. Membes actively embraces this as vital, not only to our success as a small business but in supporting other small business within our network. 

Moreover, the session on digitalisation for small businesses, particularly the discourse on AI and information security, was eye-opening. There was a prevailing sentiment that AI is not a threat but a tool for enhancing operational efficiency and innovation. Robert Tedesco's perspective on AI resonated deeply with us. AI cannot replace human qualities but instead it’s here to amplify them. Using AI for day-to-day tasks like, frequent repetitive email replies; analytics; and predictions for example, will improve experience but will also allow organisations the opportunity to focus on doubling down on what makes them great, which is fostering relationships and connections. 

Rita Arrigo of CSIRO revealed a sobering statistic about Australia's low AI adoption rate among SMEs currently (sitting at around 20%.) This emphasises the urgent need to embrace technology responsibly to boost productivity without jeopardising job security. 

Looking ahead, we are excited that all Membes customers will have access to AI technology through the Membes AMS in 2024. This initiative aligns with our commitment to support our customers in adopting technology responsibly for sustainable growth. 

As we reflect on the summit's insights, we are reminded of the critical importance of cybersecurity and data management. We believe it was Commonwealth Bank who stated the sad reality that “time poor small business owners are targeted, when it comes to cyber security.” Emphasising good personal security practices and ensuring businesses choose the right technology to give peace of mind that their data is secure, are essential steps toward safeguarding your business in the digital age. 

So, let's continue this conversation: How are you embracing technology in your business? Have you considered where your data is stored and the implications of its location? Let's navigate this technological landscape together and empower each other to thrive in the digital future. 

Here's to leveraging technology responsibly and forging ahead with innovation! 

By Membes | 10 April 2024