Cameron Research provides a monthly e-Newsletter on topics of interest to those wanting to better understand SMEs.

Below is an archive of some of our past e-Newsletters.  To sign up for the free e-Newsletter Subscribe

Welcome to the SME Recession

We’ve just finished a wave of interviews with our SME panel.  The last interviews were completed earlier this week, so this is hot off the press.  A number of themes emerged … many of them quite negative ...

Work from home - where have SMEs settled?

What do business owners think of 'work-from-home' and where have they settled in their business on this issue?

ChatGPT/AI - it's more than just a writing tool

Sure, most SMEs are using ChatGPT as a writing tool ... but some are looking beyond this entry-level application and using it more strategically ... or can see HOW they MAY be able to do so in the future.

ESG and SMEs

"ESG" ... what it means to a big business is quite different to what it means to a small business.  In fact, SBs don't know what you're talking about ... but they're DOING IT ...

SMEs and the state of the economy

Well I'm pretty shocked the RBA increased rates yesterday.  Economy is already slowing quite nicely ...

Can business owners see the value of a mentor?

Business owners absolutely love the idea or practice of having a business mentor.  Most that don't have one would like one.

What do business owners REALLY think of work from home?

There's a lot of talk about the distributed workforce (aka work from home).  But what do owners of SMEs really think about it?

Data breaches - are SMEs growing up?

What impact are the recent data breaches having on SMEs - in terms of their attitude to their OWN cyber security?

What tone in messaging is appropriate from big brands?

Given the economic environment, what do SMEs feel is the right 'tone' in messaging from large corporates?

Buy Now Pay Later - has it lost its appeal for SMEs?

There's a lot of talk in the media (and stockmarket) about BNPL ... but what do SMEs think?  Are they still the fans that they were?

Cyber security - have SMEs dialled it up?

Given the lockdowns of the past 2 years - and the move to the distributed workforce - surely SMEs have become more focused on cyber security, right? ...

Square - what's all the fuss about?

SMEs rave about Square, the EFTPOS/merchant provider.   Why?  Is it warranted?  What's so exciting about Square?

The environment - how much of an issue is it to SMEs?

The environment - do SMEs care?  What impact does it have on them and who they want to deal with?

Has anything positive emerged out of Covid lockdowns?

It can't all be gloom and doom.  In fact quite a lot of positive developments have arisen because of the Covid lockdowns ...

How have conditions changed for SMEs in the past month?

This newsletters considers the experiences of SMEs that - 4-6 weeks ago said the economy was BOOMING - how have they found the latest set of disruptions?

SMEs and the future of work from home

Working from home, what a hoot.  But what is its future?  A lot of business owners want to 'get the band back together'...

Key changes SMEs have made in their business through Covid 19

Through this lockdown period, SMEs have made countless changes to how they run their businesses.  Here's some examples ...

How are SMEs travelling ... and why aren't they investing more in their business?

Having just finished a round of SME interviewing it's a great time to assess how they are tracking and what business conditions are like ...


What changes for SMEs as the business grows?

Businesses evolve and change as they grow.  Business owners realise this, and fear of the changes that growth brings is a key reason that three quarters of them don’t want to grow their business in the first place.  But the quarter that DO want to grow are critical to understand as they are the drivers in the economy and the source of employment growth.

The HR pain-point. What is the problem?

Business owners are forever moaning about the challenges of HR.  But on digging it becomes clearer that the key challenge is around the 'softer' HR issues.

Mental health issues and SME Operators

SME Operators are terribly isolated and burdened.  Mental health issues can be a huge struggle for them.

SME's views on the Financial Services Royal Commission ... 'be careful what you wish for'

The Financial Services Royal Commission is throwing up a host of issues ... but when it comes to SME banking, few business owners are surprised - or alarmed.  Indeed they are most concerned about the 'unintended consequences' of how banks will respond and what it will mean for the SME sector.

The Growth Myth - the KEY to understanding small business owners

The reality is that most small business owners do NOT want to grow their business - a fact which is at the heart of the disconnect between small businesses and large businesses and the people that work within them.


SMEs and Amazon - are they concerned?

SMEs are aware of the pending arrival of Amazon to Australian shores but most appear unconcerned.  Some are downright blase.

How are SMEs travelling? What's happening in the economy?

It's hard to understand how SMEs are travelling.  Read here to find out what is going on out there ...

The lack of kudos for business owners

Running a business can be thankless.  Society pays business owners no respect and nor do the people employed in SMEs.

Why outbound calls to SMEs miss the mark

SMEs are always receiving outbound calls from suppliers.  But so often these calls miss the mark.  Read why ...

All SMEs are different - so what?

All SMEs think that THEY are different.  Their suppliers generally fail to understand the importance of this and what it means for their offers - for what they offer, how they package it and how they communicate it.

An SME-big business disconnect : cash flow

SMEs and large businesses tend to have a quite different opinion on what cash flow is, and whether large suppliers (in particular banks) can help them to understand and improve their cash flow position.  Frankly, they think banks cannot help them.

Words to avoid in SME comms

When communicating with business owners - in particular when advertising or promoting to them - there are particular words and phrases that just have to be avoided if you want to engage them ...

The HR pain-point : can online HR solutions help?

Virtually everything to do with 'staff' is a headache for businesses - especially those with say 10-100 FTEs ... they do not have the necessary systems in place but they need to.  Most alarmingly, they KNOW they need to.  Some are starting to look to online HR tools to help them, and the potential market for such resources - which may cover on-barding, off-boarding, performance reviews, leave planning, relevant documentation to mention some - is huge.

Some of the great SME calls

SME Operators are colourful cats.  Here are ten of the best calls we've heard from SME Operators from the past 25 years ...

Innovation in SMEs

SMEs take innovation seriously ... but they view it differently to how it is seen by many commentators.  Displaying their typical 'earthiness', many business owners point out that 'innovation' is really more about incremental improvement than a light-bulb moment.  In fact they push back hard on the 'one big idea' philosophy.  That said, they are virtually all looking to innovate - some by improving through implementing the innovations of others, and some by attempting to overhaul what they do.

Transitioning from a small to a mid-market business

As business move from small (ie <20 employees) to mid-market (ie 20-500 employees) they experience many growing pains.  Sadly a notable proportion of businesses are unable to make the transition even though they want to.  This is especially the case for businesses with 20-50 employees who are 'stuck in the middle' - they're no longer a small business but they don't have the resources (or mind-set) of a larger operator.  It is a stressful position to be in.

Technology – the key to SME improvement

Business owners don’t sit still.  They’re always looking for ways to improve their business.  Having researched SMEs for the past 24 years, we’re of the view that they are more open to using technology to improve their business now than they have ever been before.

SMEs and issues of the day

In our recent panel research, business owners had plenty to say about some of the issues of the day – in particular the Federal Election and Brexit.

The economy – how are SMEs travelling?

We are nearing the end of interviewing for the 22nd wave of our ‘SMEs Through Time’ study with small and mid-market business owners across Australia.