Startups admit they just pick up business skills by trial and error

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A lot of startups aren’t that organised when it comes to commercialising a great idea.

They say that trial and error is their number one method for gaining business skills, according to the latest MYOB monthly snapshot survey.

This could be one of the key reasons behind the high failure rate of startups, generally thought to be 90% or more.

More than a third (38%) of the small to medium enterprises surveyed by MYOB admitted that they learned business skills on the job.

Other important sources of information advice are accountants and financial advisors (32%) and professional networks (32%).

“Start-ups are basically learning on the job, and tapping professionals around them for advice,” says Simon Raik-Allen, the chief technology officer of MYOB, the cloud accountancy software group.

“When you combine this with our last SME Snapshot finding that showed that some 78% of SMEs think that you don’t need a degree to run a business, we can see a real opportunity emerging to provide practical training for entrepreneurial types.”

The survey also looked at how to compete with bigger companies when attracting talented staff.

A third (38%) say that employment flexibility is the key seller in attracting talent. Another 21 per cent say it’s the company culture which appeals to potential candidates.

“Today’s small business owners are appealing on the personal front – being a great place to work – rather than salary packages,” says Raik-Allen.

“At a time when skilled workers are hard to find, this shows that bringing a bit of heart to the equation can inspire loyalty and win out over the big guys.

“SMEs do flexibility really well. We know it’s a major motivator in going out on your own. Making this part of your offer to employees is likely to give you the inside running in attracting quality talent.”

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