Our work programme

COVID-19 has impacted heavily on our economy and particularly on small businesses. Over the past three months we have adapted some of our B4B workstreams to include the following:

Research and insights 

The B4B Research Monitor, running since 2014, is a biannual survey of 2,000 NZ businesses. The Research Monitor provides a unique system-wide view of the business experience of government (both local and central), and provides insight into the world of government from a business’ perspective. It is the only research of this type in New Zealand.

The research monitor enables us to have deep insight into business needs, expectations, challenges, pain points, motivations and behaviours (and differences between businesses). This gives us the ability to identify, prioritise and tailor both policy and operational initiatives to better support and enable business.

The B4B research monitor is currently being leveraged to help understand and identify the support businesses require as they transition through the impacts of COVID-19 and into economic recovery.

To provide additional insight, B4B has established an evidence-based business segmentation framework that combines robust data with in-depth interviews. 8 unique business segments have been identified, which have very different needs. These are now tracked as part of our B4B research monitor.

Key reports include:

  • Biannual B4B Business Research Monitor
  • Business segmentation framework
  • Covid-19 business health research
  • Covid-19 business sentiment analysis.

Applying a small business lens on legislation and regulation

B4B’s cross-agency Kaitiaki role focused on "lightening the load on small business" remains a key priority.

We recognise that businesses deal with a wide range of compliance processes and requirements from multiple local and central government agencies, and the cumulative impact on small business is often out of balance with the objective of the requirements.

And while legislation and regulation are subject to formal regulatory impact assessments, the impacts on small businesses specifically are not necessarily top of mind.

B4B’s role is to support both policy and operational teams to apply a small business lens to the work they do and help identify where there could be unintended compliance costs on small businesses. This directly supports Theme 4 of the Small Business Council (SBC) strategy “Creating an enabling regulatory environment”.

Small Business Council strategy on the MBIE website(external link)

One of the recommendations within the SBC strategy was to establish a “burden hunter” initiative within Better for Business. One of the key initiatives we are currently working on, in consultation with the Treasury and MBIE’s Regulatory Stewardship team, is how the B4B segmentation framework can be applied to the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) process to ensure small business needs are considered from the outset.

B4B segmentation framework

Supporting this work is the ‘Better Rules’ methodology, which enables government to produce business-centric logic against regulation so it can be expressed as concept models, decision models and rule statements. This enables regulation to be more easily integrated into digital channels, which is a focus area for B4B and making it easier to deal with government.

The Better Rules methodology was recognised in 2019 by the OECD as an emerging innovation trend in governments across the world – in a report “Embracing Innovation in Government”.

Digital enablement

Integrated digital services are critical to delivering a more consistent and coordinated experience of government. Better for Business has a key role in identifying opportunities for more integrated services between government agencies, and has incubated a number of digital initiatives including Business Connect.

Business Connect website(external link)

In addition, supporting small businesses to realise the benefits of digitising their business is a key focus area. B4B’s unique insight into NZ businesses has enabled us to identify where there are gaps in small business digital capability across different segments of businesses. We are working with a number agencies and key digital influencers in the private sector to enable the delivery of digital skills training and support to small businesses as part of the Digital Boost™ programme.

Digital Boost™ programme on the MBIE website(external link)