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Survey 2018 "Greek SMEs - Challenges & Opportunities"

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The survey "Challenges and Opportunities of Small and Medium Enterprises in Greece" is taking place for the second consecutive year by the ELTRUN lab of the Athens University of Economics and Business, in collaboration with the Douleutaras.gr Professional Finding Platform, with representation from more than 200 professionals.

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Survey 2018 "Greek SMEs - Challenges & Opportunities"

  1. 1. OF SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES IN GREECE CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES Panhellenic Survey from the Athens University of Economics and Business’s Electronic Research Unit (ELTRUN) in collaboration with Douleutaras.gr
  2. 2. Introduction Support from Public Administration Finding Employees Consumer Audience and Success Factors Business Income / Prices of Debit Promotion and Evolution of Business Online Presence and Digital Technologies Effect of Douleutaras.gr on businesses Conclusions Demographics 4 6 12 16 22 26 32 42 46 48 CONTENTS 02.03
  3. 3. The survey "Challenges and Opportunities of Small and Medium Enterprises in Greece" is taking place for the second consecutive year by the ELTRUN lab of the Athens University of Economics and Business, in collaboration with the Douleutaras.gr Professional Finding Platform, with representation from more than 200 professionals. The aim of the survey is to identify the problems faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are primarily active in the house repairs and modifications sector. It also attempts to illustrate the level of use of digital technologies in the day-to-day operation of these small and medium-sized en- terprises and their willingness to evolve technologically and exploit the potential that technology can offer them. Finally, comparing the data with the previous survey, to identify changes that have occurred over the last two years. For conducting the research, a quantitative method was followed, using a questionnaire which covered the following sections: mapping of the current situation, problems of small and medium-sized enterprises, existing use of digital technologies, personal characteristics of participants (personal perception of technology, knowledge of technology, focus on quality of the services offered), the willingness to future technological developments and possible future technological development steps. As the research is conducted through the Douleutaras.gr professional base, a significant difference from the 2017 research lies in the fact that participants in this year's research are mainly active in the home service sector. As such, some categories of professionals for example web & design, car, etc., are not included. More information on the categories of companies that participated in the survey and their volume is in the section "Demographics". Introduction 04.05
  4. 4. Professionals remain largely dissatisfied with their relationship with public bodies. State’s aid is considered unsatisfactory, although a decrease in dissatisfaction is observed compared to last year, especially in the areas of gathering and filing supporting documents due to the digitization of some of them. 06.07 SUPPORT FROM PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION Percentage of dissatisfaction from authorities Gathering necessairy documents Deposit of documents Fast business initiation Necessary guidance from relevant authorities Finding suppliers Alternative sources of funding 79% 71% 72% 64% 70% 68% 81% 78% 56%56% 80% 82% 2017 2018
  5. 5. The majority of participants (8 out of 10) say they are not satisfied with the guidance provided by the responsible bodies as well as the number of alternative sources of funding available. The latter remains a serious problem due to the limited resources and wider problems in the country's financial system. Interestingly, the funding sources category is the only one where there is a slight increase in dissatisfaction over last year. Finally, with regard to state support in finding the necessary suppliers, the rate of non-satisfaction is significantly lower and stable than last year. This is probably due to the fact that entrepreneurs do not seek the state's help in this action compared to the other services that were presented in the survey. About the training programs offered by state initiative, only 1 in 4 professionals know of the existence of a program, but almost 70% of them have attended a (only 18% of the total) seminar. Due to the limited resources and time that professionals have, their lack of training remains a substantial problem in their further development. Percentage of professionals that is aware of the existence of training programs Support from Public Administration 08.09 74% is not aware of programs 26% Is aware of the existance of programs 18% Has taken part
  6. 6. Support from Public Administration 10.11 ΠΩΣ ΘΑ ΧΑΡΑΚΤΗΡΙΖΑΤΕ ΤΟ ΕΠΙΠΕΔΟ ΥΠΟΣΤΗΡΙΞΗΣ ΠΟΥ ΠΑΡΕΧΕΙ ΣΤΙΣ ΜΙΚΡΟΜΕΣΑΙΕΣ ΕΠΙΧΕΙΡΗΣΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ ΣΤΙΣ ΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΕΣ ΔΙΑΔΙΚΑΣΙΕΣ ΕΝΑΡΞΗΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΠΙΧΕΙΡΗΣΗΣ ΣΑΣ; Deposit of documents Fast business initiation Gathering necessairy documents Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Unsure Satisfied Very satisfied 32% 39% 19% 8% 2% Necessary guidance Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Unsure Satisfied Very satisfied 45% 33% 14% 6% 2% Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Unsure Satisfied Very satisfied 29% 35% 21% 14% 1% Finding suppliers Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Unsure Satisfied Very satisfied 35% 21% 30% 13% 2% Alternative sources of funding Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Unsure Satisfied Very satisfied 57% 26% 14% 3% 1% Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Unsure Satisfied Very satisfied 36% 32% 17% 13% 2% 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45
  7. 7. Impressive is the fact that, despite high unemployment rates, more than half of practitioners have difficulty finding suitable employees with the necessary products to join their businesses. Quite worrying is the fact that these percentages have increased significantly compared to last year, demonstrating the lack of secondary technical education in our country and the high overqualification rates, with the trend that the main mass of students follows higher education. 12.13 FINDING EMPLOYEES Finding Employees 41% 39% Very easy Easy Neutral Hard Very hard 0% 5% 10% 13% 16% 30% 39% 14% 7% 2% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 2017 2018
  8. 8. Garden Home appliances 82% Disinfestetions 80% Doors-window frames 61% Electrical services 58% Refrigeration / air conditioning 55% Technical works / repairs 53% Plumping services 53% Renovations 52% Moving / transportation 50% Oil painting 44% 43% Other 40% Security systems 38% House management 33% Finding Employees Analyzing the data by industry, we see that the difficulty in finding personnel is considerably high in all the areas with the greatest problems in the field of "Disinfestations" and "Home Appliances" where a very large percentage (8 out of 10 profes- sionals) answered that it is difficult or very difficult to find properly trained staff. The smallest percentages are found in the "Security Systems" and "Garden" categories, although they remain high (1 in 4 and 1 in 3 respectively). 14.15 Dificulty of finding employees per sector 0 20 40 60 80 100
  9. 9. CONSUMER AUDIENCE AND SUCCESS FACTORS 16.17 From the results of the research, it is evident that practitioners consider that the most important factors of choice for the public is the price (almost 8 out of 10), and repeated cooperation (7 out of 10), which is related to the relationships that these professionals "build" with customers. Customer reviews (including "word of mouth") are also considered to be an important factor as well as quality of service (about 1 in 2). Significant changes over the last few years in the daily use of digital media are evident from the fact that 1 in 3 recognizes online advertising as a customer approach channel. The public considers very important in choosing professionals... Price Repeated collaboration Other users' reviews Quality of products/services Online advertising Conventional advertising 78% 70% 51% 47% 32% 9%
  10. 10. A key factor for the success of my business is: Quality of services / products Competitive prices Customer satisfaction Easy for customer to find the business The business' technological level 3% 1% 31% 60% 4% 1% 4% 52% 31% 0 20 40 60 80 100 13% 3% 1% 28% 66% 1% 1% 3% 46% 30% 19% 1% 5% 40% 34% 20% Strongly disagree Disagree Agree Strongly agree Neither agree or disagree Consumer Audience and Success Factors On the other hand, when asked about for their own business, professionals believe that the key factors for their success are the quality of the products and services provided, and customer satisfaction, which is directly associated with the stats above, as well as the concept of value-for-money (combination of quality and price). Interesting finds are the high rates for ease-of-finding the business by the stakehold- ers and the technological development, both of which outline the need for digital platforms to offer these services. 18.19
  11. 11. As far as competition is concerned, the majority of the firms that participated in the research find very high levels of competition in their industry. Specifically, 36% find it easy and 22% very easy for their customers to switch to another business in the industry, for the same or similar services / products as they offer themselves. The above evidence suggests that in order to enable SMEs to withstand competition, it is necessary to support them with actions / services that include investments for the development of innovative products / services, adaptation to the ever-changing environment and exploitation of the technological means for communication and cooperation with customers. Finally, one of the most important features of successful busi- nesses is the continuous evaluation of their services and prod- ucts and the constant effort to improve them. The overwhelm- ing majority of survey respondents (94%) said they control the quality of the services they offer and are constantly trying to verify that they meet the expectations of their customers. This percentage is surprising if we consider the general per- ception of how small and medium-sized businesses operate in our country. Another important factor is the large increase in this percentage as last year it was 73%. This is also related to the high quality of the professionals on the Douleutaras.gr digital platform that participated in this year's survey. How easy is it for customers to switch to another business in the industry for the same service / product? Very easy Easy Neutral Hard Very hard 22% 36% 34% 6% 2% Consumer Audience and Success Factors 20.21
  12. 12. 22.23 One of the most significant changes over the past year concerns the companies’ revenues. There is a significant tendency towards stabilization, even increase, of inflows over the previous year when major reductions have been observed. 4 out of 10 participants said there were no significant changes in their business revenue while over 1 in 5 observed a slight increase (22.4%). Although the percentage that saw its revenue fall is still significant, it is considerably smaller than last year (37.2% from 57.2%). In this decline, it has to be noted that almost 1 in 5 professionals had a dramatic reduction of their revenues (over 50%) in the past year, down from 1 in 10 (11.2%) this year. The following elements are justified by the gradual improvement of the wider economic climate in the country, as well as the sample of participants in this year's survey that give importance to service and professionalism in the services they offer. BUSINESS INCOME / PRICES OF DEBIT
  13. 13. The same stabilization, as compared to the previous year, is observed also in the prices charged to customers. More than 1 in 2 professionals (52.2%) kept prices stable, while the rest (to a much lower percentage since 2017) made mainly reductions. These findings are in line with the most estimations of price movements in Greece, which show that inflation is close to zero, reflecting the trend of stabilization in the market. Business Income / Prices of Debit 24.25 Business Income Reduced >50% Reduced 30 - 50% Reduced 10 - 30% No significant changes Increased 10 - 30% Increased 30 - 50% Increased >50% 0 10 20 30 40 19.3% 11.2% 16.8% 10.2% 21.1% 15.8% 23.8% 40.0% 15.7% 15.1% 2.3% 4.9% 1.0% 2.4% Price Reduced >50% Reduced 30 - 50% Reduced 10 - 30% No significant changes Increased 10 - 30% Increased 30 - 50% Increased >50% 0 10 20 30 40 8.5% 8.3% 18.6% 15.0% 35.7% 18.0% 31.9% 52.2% 4.6% 5.9% 0.4% 0.5% 0.2% 2017 2018 2017 2018
  14. 14. 26.27 Electronic promotion means continue to be the main advertising channel for small and medium-sized enterprises. Advertisements on social media (Facebook 44%) and the Internet (Google AdWords 30%) continue to rise with increasing rates in both cases. The penetration of e-marketing in small and medium-sized businesses is also reflected in the important increase of affiliate marketing (from 16% to 25%). An interesting deviation from the trend towards online marketing is the more than doubling of the promotion rate through brochures (from 13% to 27%). This rise is probably due to the very low, and constantly de- creasing, cost of the particular medium, but also to its comple- mentarity nature to the digital channel. The fact that profes- sionals show consistent and growing use of all available promo- tion channels also shows the need for a comprehensive and multifaceted advertising strategy for the success of a business, however small it may be. PROMOTION AND EVOLUTION OF BUSINESS
  15. 15. Main ways of advertising / promotion Which of the following would you choose to do first, if you had the choice, for the development of your business? 13% 27% Online advertising via Facebook Online advertising via Google Adwords Brochure Affiliate Marketing Sending emails Listing in newspaper 0% 5% 10% 19% 20% 6% 7% 16% 25% 26% 30% 39% 44% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% The importance of the internet for the development and consolidation of the business also appears in the fact that more than half of the participants stated that their first priority for the development of their business is the development of online promotion methods. Also important is the percentage that would invest in their material and technical equipment (1 in 4) to support the wider digitization of its business. Promotion and Evolution of Business 28.29 52% 24% 15% 5% 3% Develop promotional channels on the internet Setup software to automate processes (invoice, customer lists, etc.) Training at digital tools Hire new, specialized personnel Invest in new equipment 2017 2018
  16. 16. Interestingly, despite the shift towards online advertising, the main customer acquisition channel remains by far recommendation from old customers (57%), therefore highlighting the need to evaluate their services. In the second place, the physical store (20%) and the company site (18%) are very close, stressing the importance of the multi-channel presence. The percentage of participants who see Douleutaras.gr as one of the main means of customer approach (from 5% to 12%) also significantly increased. Promotion and Evolution of Business 30.31 My customers find my business mainly via... other businsess searching websites 3% 4% 0% 10% the internet (website) 14% 18% douleutaras.gr 5% 12% physical store 13% 20% other customers 44% 57% 20% 30% 40% 60%50% 2017 2018
  17. 17. Online Παρουσία 25% No 75% Yes 32.33 Part of the technological development of an enterprise is un- doubtedly its presence on the Internet. The percentage of com- panies with online presence remains stable from the previous year to 75%. Despite the fact that steadily 1 in 4 has no online presence, professionals in their vast majority, reaching 9 out of 10, seem to agree that online presence, and even more, online advertising are necessary elements for a business. The extensive penetration of the internet in our everyday lives seems to be perceived positively by practitioners, as only 9% of respondents believe that their business has been negatively affected by the widespread use of the internet by the consum- ers. audience. ONLINE PRESENCE AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
  18. 18. Online Presence and Digital Technologies 34.35 The widespread use of the internet by the consumer has affected my business ... Is online presence necessary? Very Quite Neutral A little Not at all 33% 22% 34% 9% 2% Is online advertising necessary? Very Quite Neutral A little Not at all 33% 23% 30% 12% 2% Positively Very Positively Negatively Very Negatively Neutral52% 24% 12% 7% 2%
  19. 19. I actively seek new technologies that improve my products / services Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree or disagree Agree Strongly agree 1% 5% 20% 47% 26% Επαγγέλματα που δεν έχουν σχέση με την τεχνολογία μπορούν να επωφεληθούν Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree or disagree Agree Strongly agree 1% 3% 17% 55% 23% Analyzing the effect and penetration of technology in SMEs, it was observed that, increasingly, practitioners understand the value of new technologies and are familiar with their use. Of the total respondents, 80% believe they are good with technology, significantly increased compared to the previous year (68%). This percentage justifies further the penetration of new technological solutions with the aim of further digitizing the infrastructures used by small and medium-sized enterprises and improving their productivity. The increasing penetration of new technologies is explained by the fact that a large percentage of professionals are actively seeking to adopt them. Specifically, 73% of respondents are looking for technologies that improve their products and services, while 78% believe that even traditional professions (such as theirs) that do not have a direct connection to technology can benefit from it. Do you have a good connection with technology? Online Presence and Digital Technologies 36.37 Good Bad Good Bad 80% 20% 2017 2018 68% 32%
  20. 20. 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 60 0 15 30 45 Online Presence and Digital Technologies 38.39 The use of technology speeds up the processes The use of technology improves the businesss image The use of technology improves the efficiency of business processes Major effect Moderate effect Neutral Minor effect No effect Major effect Moderate effect Neutral Minor effect No effect Major effect Moderate effect Neutral Minor effect No effect Major effect Moderate effect Neutral Minor effect No effect Major effect Moderate effect Neutral Minor effect No effect Major effect Moderate effect Neutral Minor effect No effect 22% 38% 35% 4% 1% The use of technology improves the competitive advantage 29% 34% 25% 10% 2% 24% 45% 26% 3% 0% The use of technology improves customer service 26% 42% 20% 8% 3% Using technology improves collaboration with corporate partners 24% 38% 26% 7% 4% 32% 41% 20% 5% 1% Asked about specific advantages of new technologies, professionals in their vast majority showed that they think new technologies can help a business in a variety of different themes. As can be seen in the graphs below, in all categories, only very small percentages between 5 and 10% believe that new technologies help little, or not at all, a business’ functions.
  21. 21. Although the rates are encouraging for the spread and adoption of new technologies, there is a significant digitization deficit in archives of surveyed professionals. 53% keeps customer information records electronically while less than half (47%) maintain their financial records in electronic form. These results show that there is considerable room for improvement of the filing systems by both the business side and the State agencies, the requirements of whom are many times forcing business to keep large physical files. Online Presence and Digital Technologies 40.41 Customer records Financial records 53% 46% 47% 40% 6% 6% Electronically Handwritten I do not keep Electronically Handwritten I do not keep
  22. 22. 42.43 This section of the research deals with the ways in which Douleutaras.gr affects collaborating businesses and how businesses in their turn understand their relationship with Douleutaras.gr. 4 out of 10 businesses report that more than 10% of their turnover comes from customers that they acquired from Douleutaras.gr. This is considered to be a very important element if we take into account that the digital platform has been operating for only three years. This is verified by the fact that a fairly significant percentage (26%) considers the platform's impact on the success of their business very or extremely important. Interestingly, an even greater percentage (33%) considers the effect of Douleutaras.gr on the promotion and advertising of the business very or extremely important. From these data, it is understood that although in many cases practitioners do not finalize jobs through the platform, they use it more as a means of promoting their business. EFFECT OF DOULEUTARAS.GR ON BUSINESSES
  23. 23. Επίδραση του Douleutaras.gr στις επιχειρήσεις 44.45 0 - 10% 11 - 25% 25 - 50% 50 - 75% Over 75% Not at all important Low importance Somewhat important Very important Extremely important Not at all important Low importance Somewhat important Very important Extremely important What percentage of your total turnover comes from customers you acquired through douleutaras.gr? 60% 19% 12% 7% 2% How important do you consider the effect of douleutaras.gr on the success of your business? 19% 20% 34% 21% 5% How important do you consider the impact of douleutaras.gr on promoting and advertising your business? 17% 21% 29% 28% 5%
  24. 24. CONCLUSIONS The second year of the research records a strengthening of the trend towards new technologies and digitalization. Greek professionals have realized the value of digital technologies to a significant extent and show that they are changing in this direction. At an individual level, more and more professionals seem to be familiar with the use of new technologies. An extension of this trend is the growing recognition of the benefits of online advertising and presence, as well as the Internet in general. This recognition translates both in the establishment of digital media as a de facto necessity and in addressing digital platforms such as Douleutaras.gr as important elements for the promotion and the conclusion of transactions of small and medium-sized businesses. In addition to the steady trend of internet acceptance and new technologies, the biggest deviations from the previous year were observed in revenue and prices where we are seeing a significant trend towards stabilizing the market. Stable and significant remains the professional dissatisfaction of the state institutions / organizations. 46.47
  25. 25. Despite the challenges and difficulties that exist in Greece's 2018 business arena, SME representatives stay optimistic and willing to evolve. Opportunities for modernization, training, and acquisition of competitive advantage are great, and perceptive entrepreneurs have the opportunity to exploit them for the benefit of their business and their customers. How optimistic are you about the development of your business? Conclusions 48.49 Very optimistic Optimistic Pessimistic Neutral Very pessimistic 46% 32% 11% 8% 4%
  26. 26. 50.51 DEMOGRAPHICS Sector Renovations Technical works / repairs Electrical services Doors-window frames Plumping services Moving/transportation Refrigeration / air conditioning Home appliances Oil painting Security systems Garden Disinfestetions Other 22% 16% 9% 9% 8% 6% 5% 5% 4% 4% 3% 3% 1% 2% House management 0 6 12 18 24 30
  27. 27. Demographics 52.53 How old is your business? How many employees are employed in your business? Gender Age 1 - 2 years 3 - 4 years 5 or more years 18 - 24 25 - 34 35 - 44 45 - 55 > 55 Level of Education Secondary education (Middle or High schhol) Vocational Training (IEK) Technological educational institute (ΤΕΙ) University (ΑΕΙ) Post-Graduate degree Ph.D. 1 - 5 6 - 10 11 - 30 Male Female 80% 15% 5% 2% 88% 10% 3% 97% 5% 48% 24% 21% 1% 1% 46% 13% 7% 13% 20%

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