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Communication and willingness to learn – the leading attributes for SME success

by OnDeck Australia,   Nov 24, 2020

New research by leading SME lender OnDeck Australia sheds light on the key qualities required for success in small business.

  • 73% of SMEs say being a good communicator is the leading attribute for business success; 14% say it is the ‘most important’ quality.
  • 73% of SMEs point to willingness to learn and grow as the leading factor for success; 13% describe it as the ‘most important’ attribute.
  • 72% of SME owners say technical skills relevant to the industry are the main factor behind business success.

Sydney (24 November 2020): New research by leading online SME lender OnDeck Australia, reveals the qualities that small business owners need to achieve success.


The Australia-wide survey identified being a good communicator (73% of respondents) and willingness to learn and grow (also 73%) as the leading personal qualities required for success.


Nine attributes in total were identified as crucial to business success:

Business Success Attributes


Mr Cameron Poolman, CEO, OnDeck Australia said, “The need for strong communication skills is critical in today’s disrupted operating environment.


Cameron Poolman Headshot


“Communication is all about information transfer. This has been particularly important during the COVID crisis, when many SMEs have needed to relay new policies and procedures to staff, customers, suppliers and even regulators.”


Ms Anne Nalder, Founder and CEO of the Small Business Association of Australia (SBAA), said, “In business, good communication is important because misunderstandings can occur.


Anne Nalder Headshot


“Good communication with suppliers for example, ensures the smooth flow of orders and payments.”


Technical skills were cited by 72% of business owners as the number one attribute for success in small business.


However, Ms Nalder notes, “Technical skills can be learned but a sense of passion can’t be.” Passion for the business, was cited by 68% of SMEs as essential for success.


Resourcefulness, cited by 67% of SME owners as an attribute for success, is proving its worth for SME owners in 2020.


Mr Poolman explained, “At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, OnDeck launched a COVID-19 Recovery Hub for SMEs, which features a number of inspirational case studies of small businesses that have innovated and adapted to navigate a path through COVID-19.


“It is clear from the case studies presented to OnDeck that the SME community is working hard to meet the challenges of the crisis,” concluded Mr Poolman.




About OnDeck

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) is the proven leader in transparent and responsible online lending to small business. Founded in 2006, the company pioneered the use of data analytics and digital technology to make real-time lending decisions and deliver capital rapidly to small businesses online.  Today, OnDeck offers a wide range of term loans and lines of credit customized for the needs of small business owners. OnDeck is now part of Enova International Inc. and has provided over $13 billion in loans to more than 110,000 customers in 700 different industries across the United States, Canada and Australia. In Australia, OnDeck is backed by leading accounting software provider MYOB and has a 5-star rating from Trust Pilot. For more information, visit


About the research

The independent research was conducted online in April 2020 by Honeycomb Strategy across more than 300 SME owners Australia-wide. The survey included SMEs with less than 50 employees, annual turnover of $50,000-$5 million, and in operation for at least 12 months.


About OnDeck’s COVID-19 Recovery Hub


OnDeck’s COVID-19 Resource Hub provides SMEs with details about government stimulus packages, practical tips on managing a small business through uncertain times, case studies of inventive SMEs pivoting their expertise to survive the pandemic and recommended reading from trusted sources. To find out more visit





Media Contacts:

Anthony O’Brien

Corpwrite Australia

+61 (0) 411 578 818


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