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Experts outline challenges and opportunities for South Australian businesses in 2018

By | January 17, 2018

We sat down with directors and senior management of three of Hub39’s businesses to get their take on the opportunities and challenges in South Australia in 2018.

This is what they said.

What significant opportunities do you see for SA businesses in 2018?

Michel Zerella, MasterTax Director:

  • Continued demand for skilled trades with significant drop off in people entering these areas over the past decade or more and with 40 per cent of current tradespeople retiring over the next decade
  • Home renovations market continues to grow with shortage of trades
  • Opportunities in software engineering and development with continued growth in cloud computing
  • Age care services continues to grow
  • Opportunities in the bicycle industry with increasing culture in cycling becoming a popular activity for transport, health and recreation

Kristen Buik, Altitude Advisory General Manager

Altitude Advisory Team - Business Advisor, Kristen Buik

We are fortunate in SA to be the food hub of Australia. We have such strong food wine and agribusiness sectors producing premium quality goods that are sold both locally and internationally. Being ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation will be key. For the smaller producers, standing out in the market is essential. Discretionary spend is on the up, so those pop-up bars and restaurants always seem to be full to overflowing, plenty of opportunity there. There’s also a reversion to the ‘hand-made’ and natural products, and people seem willing to pay a premium for it. Finding new ways with existing produce is a big opportunity.

There is currently a large emphasis on tech in the state, that brings so many opportunities for outside investors and therefore jobs.

With the cost of business in SA so affordable, there’s opportunity around every corner. Do the thing you are passionate about. Focus on your passion, surround yourself with professional partners and be the best.

Tony Catt, Hub39 CEO and Catapult Wealth Director

  • Resurgence of the mining industry and mining service companies
  • The continued confidence in the agricultural areas, in particular the Riverland as grape prices rise significantly
  • Continued growth in the number of Chinese tourists to our State and buoyant tourism in general
  • The aging economy will present opportunities in certain areas, for example health
  • The new defence force contracts will provide some medium-term confidence

Andrew Mattner, Altitude Advisory Director

Altitude Advisory Team - Director, Andrew Mattner

  • Food and wine related industries – agriculture in general
  • Tourism
  • Education and related, for example accommodation for overseas students
  • Niche manufacturing – particularly defence related
  • Professional services

Geoff Hattam, Altitude Advisory Director

Geoff Hattam

  • Value add to food and farm produce, e-commerce still relevant, niche tourism, valet style services
  • Change of government
  • Innovation in energy/AI/
  • Lifestyle

What are the biggest challenges for 2018?

Michel Zerella

  • Creating jobs, improving unemployment and retaining well-trained people in SA
  • Business confidence, with a relatively conservative mind-set population and current political climate

Kristen Buik

In the age of immediacy – where email, digital signatures, Google and emojis rule the day – there is a real challenge to nurture the humanity in us. We are all still heavily reliant on relationships. The challenge is staying connected with our clients, customers, buyers and suppliers in an environment where the need for efficiency has never been greater and Google is everyone’s best friend – find time to talk to people. The biggest challenge also provides us with the biggest opportunity, valuable face-to-face conversations won’t ever go out of fashion!

If the Google Home trend is anything to go by, having excellent SEO will be the next biggest challenge!

Tony Catt

  • The higher oil prices may lead to inflationary signs that could lead to higher interest rates and funding costs for businesses towards the end of the year
  • Sourcing and keeping a great workforce
  • Technology and, in particular, the effect of AI
  • Change exhaustion!

Andrew Mattner

  • Ongoing negative sentiment in SA – can become contagious
  • Lack of skilled regional labour – farm hands and workers, mechanics
  • Businesses not wanting to adapt/change with moving economy/way of doing business
  • Technology gaps – infrastructure in some rural areas – knowledge and implementation across the board
  • Motivating a large portion of the State that is stuck in somewhat of a rut

Geoff Hattam

  • Amazon/Aldi/Kaufland
  • Drain of talent
  • East-coast centric focus of government and large business
  • Power costs
  • Closure of auto industry
  • Lack of government support for established businesses

Your top tip for SA business growth in 2018?

Michel Zerella

Extend market reach, recognise market changes and be prepared to make changes.

Kristen Buik

Take time and invest resources in understanding your clients’ needs and wants. Why do they buy from you? What is your value proposition? Trade on that. Worry less about what your competitors are doing and more about how well you do the thing you do. Be the best. That means reassessing what your clients want from you often.

Tony Catt

Have an abundance mentality and accept change is part of the world in which we live.

Andrew Mattner

Have a plan and be disciplined in its execution.

Geoff Hattam

Don’t leave growth to chance, have a strategy, a plan and the resolve to execute.

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