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How An App Could Get You a Slice of $6.2 Billion

Image: Shutterstock.
If you are a creative solo practitioner or small business - you could be contributing to a massive chunk of change being left on the table in Aotearoa.


Everyone has their way of doing things.

Some are honed through years of trial, error and open-mindedness. 

But there’s also the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ model, the parts of what you do that feel functional rather than inspirational - few creatives got into their chosen field excited about invoices.  

Whether it’s through a drought of opportunity to look for better options, feeling comfortable in what you already know or even belligerence to trying something new, sub-optimal systems can stay in place and unchecked for too long.

While productivity can sometimes be a dirty word for the artistically minded, unburdening yourself of the tasks you dislike to create more time for the ones you love, should be seen as a no-brainer.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a digital native or a reluctant adopter of technology - you’ll know it’s virtually unavoidable in today’s business environment. And independent research shows it can be a game-changer for those prepared to embrace technology. 

The numbers show sales for those who use five or more business apps are on the increase, while sales for those who use none are on the decline. 

An app a day keeps debt at bay?

Craig Hudson’s an expert on the subject. As Xero’s Managing Director for New Zealand & Pacific Islands, he’s literally made it his business to know what makes small businesses tick. He also has first hand experience as a small business owner himself.

The outcome isn’t rocket science - it’s about working smarter, not harder. Put simply, if you’re not using the best tool, you’re not using your time efficiently. If you’re a sculptor, you wouldn’t use a kitchen knife to carve wood just because it’s closest, would you?

“There are massive benefits for systemisation and digitalisation of small business to be able to reduce the admin load that many are almost breaking under,” Hudson explains.

Craig Hudson, Managing Director for New Zealand & Pacific Islands for Xero. Photo: Supplied.

He says the research shows a 20% increase in app or technology use - “that’s effectively every business using one more piece of technology they touch every day” - would make a huge difference.

“That 20% would equate to an increase in New Zealand’s GDP of $6.2 billion annually, which would have a monumental impact on the small business sector and the livelihoods of many. 

“So small gains - big returns for the country. We need to be doubling down as much as we possibly can to help small business owners who don’t have resources to be able to enable us to unlock their potential.” 

Take the first step

The biggest problem in this equation is small business owners or sole traders aren’t taking those first steps in the digitalisation of their business.

Despite 80% of those surveyed feeling admin impacts how much they enjoy their work - more than half haven’t proactively looked into what admin tasks could be automated with digital tools.

When asked why not, money, technical skills (or perceived lack thereof), and not knowing where to start were rattled off at the leading barriers to adopting technology.

Of those who took the plunge out of their technological comfort zone, 73% saw an increase in productivity.

Being creative comes naturally to most who choose to build their livelihoods around it. Just as you look to use the best materials and access the right training to sharpen your skills, being prepared to try new apps can be seen as an investment in the one resource that makes most creativity flourish - time.

“We know digitalisation works,” Hudson underlines. “Business digitalisation tools should be top of mind for the nation’s small business owners so they can take back time for what they love.”

Whatever the industry, there are digital tools that can help you take a load off. Xero’s Why We’re In It hub is a free resource for creatives and all small business owners to take those first steps on their digitalisation journey.

So don’t get caught out on the tired old dog, new tricks cliche. If the pandemic has taught the creative community anything, it’s that going digital opens new doors. The same goes with your bottom line.


This article is written in partnership with Xero. Why We’re In It is a campaign focussed on helping small businesses and self-employed NZers embrace wellbeing and digitalisation.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

13 Dec 2021

The Big Idea Editor