Australian startups and small businesses had an exciting 2014 where change seemed to be the only constant. Business sentiment varied across industries. On one hand, there was optimism fuelled by a growing tech startup environment, increased funding, favourable changes in the budget, and increased business confidence. Concurrently there was caution and worry over weaker stocks, falling mineral and fuel prices and unemployment figures. Business confidence was high with a recently published Commonwealth Bank SME Confidence Report stating 87% expected conditions to improve or stay the same early to mid this year. With more that two million SMEs employing over seven million Australians, the health and confidence of this segment is crucial to the development of the nation. Many startups and small businesses are using the optimism to focus on growth – in Australia and globally. Likewise, inspired by success stories on our shores and from places such as the Silicon Valley, more people are starting their own businesses. So what are some of the trends that will continue to shape this segment in 2015? Startups and small businesses in 2015 – what’s in store? Renata Cooper Cloud technology will support growth and scalability Cloud technology transformed industries and how we did business in 2014. Here’s how it will continue to shape the market this year: • The infrastructure / enterprise cost of doing business will continue to drop with more cloud systems becoming available to startups and small businesses. Easier collection and management of data will also result in more streamlined processes and increased productivity that can help SMEs scale. • The levelling effects of technology, increased need for consumer control and easier access to data will see • More opportunities for people with innovative ideas more businesses ramping up to enter the market and their presence on the cloud to offer innovative solutions. deliver solutions quicker Consumers can expect to than they have ever been see more apps and tools able to. Going global that give them increased – especially for service connectivity across different industries – is easier than touch points, more control ever. in all areas of their lives and better engagement with brands they like.