Demystifying digital to create champions

For a small business operator, the digital world may be overwhelming but HIA’s Digital Champions program offers tips, tricks and services to get the most out of technology.


Anne-Maree Brown and Kate Veteri 

Blogs, bots, bytes and your small business. For many smaller operators knowing how to navigate and get most out of digital possibilities is an opportunity worth understanding. 

When small businesses are digitally engaged, they are 50 per cent more likely to be growing revenue and 14 times more likely to be innovating new products or services, according to research from Deloitte’s Connected Small Businesses 2017 report. The report also shows those small businesses are eight times more likely to be creating jobs and seven times more likely to be exporting.

But the digital world does have its own language, which can make trawling through the oodles of advice, websites and material arduous.

To try to make sense and progress, in early 2019 HIA joined the Australian Government’s Digital Champions program and began a program of webinars, advice and articles with the aim of creating a trusted advisory service to members relevant for the residential housing industry.

‘We understand that for a lot of our members technology can be a confusing area, and not knowing where to start can prevent someone from starting at all,’ says Graham Wolfe, HIA Managing Director.

This information is available for anyone to access, at any time. On the go, or in the office. HOUSING has created an overview of the resources.


HIA will continue to offer support to small businesses as the Australian Government Digital Champions program wraps up


HIA webinars have been providing members with a real-time, interactive forum for information since 2013. In this emerging digital era a webinar is an effective way to deliver content to a group of people without the limitations of face-to-face presentation, such as travel and maximum seating numbers. Webinars allow host to set up online platforms to broadcast presentations to various individuals – the only thing you need to join is an internet connection. 

These webinars have allowed HIA to arrange expert panellists from around Australia, New Zealand and the USA to present their knowledge, tips and tricks and general how-tos on the best ways to get the most out of the technology your business uses. 

While watching these webinars in real-time allows you to ask questions to the hosts and participate in the conversation, we do keep recordings on the HIA website for viewing at a later date. 

Watching webinars in real-time allows you to participate in the conversation 


HIA continues to offer additional support to make your digital platforms run seamlessly. 

HOUSING magazine runs an ongoing collection of articles called Plugged In that is also featured on HOUSING Online. They are designed to offer quick and easily digestible information on a variety of topics from managing clients via your website to how to increase engagement on your social media platforms.

Recently, Plugged In looked at ways to incorporate chatbots into your website. Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular and for a good reason. They are the perfect pre-programmed software engagement tool that communicates directly with anyone visiting your website. It can provide them with everything from where to locate information on your website or help you by getting them started in beginning a work order with your business. 

HIA’s websites also have a plethora of articles on digital engagement ideas and how members are making the digital platform work best for them. 

While some of us might have Zoom or Skype meetings under our belt by now, some of you might not have needed it. But what happens if all of a sudden you do? Well, HIA has you covered of course. Our digital engagement articles cover topics such as virtual meetings. It outlines how to set it up, the different between running an online meeting as opposed to face to face, how to set rules – instead of letting your team go loose on the video filter options – and the most effective way to collaborate.

More to come

But where to from here? While the Australian Government wraps up the official Digital Champions program, HIA will continue to provide members with digital support through these various platforms. 

If you’re an HIA member you can keep up-to-date with upcoming webinars or view the range of recorded webinars on our website. Additionally, if there is a topic of particular interest to you that we are yet to cover, please get in contact with us on 1300 650 620.

The government is also now offering free access to its Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) program, to continue providing small business owners with assistance.

Not an HIA member yet? By joining Australia’s largest national association for the residential building industry, you’ll get access to a range of member benefits, as well as industry products and business services designed to help you manage, operate and grow.

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