Less than a third (31 per cent) of Australian small businesses are satisfied with the level of support they’re receiving from the Federal Government, according to MYOB’s latest Business Monitor report.
MYOB CEO, Tim Reed believes winning the favour of the small business sector by putting policies forward that will make it easier to do business in Australia, not harder, will be on the minds of small business operators as we head toward a May Federal Election.
“There are more than two million small businesses in Australia* employing some 5.7 million Australians; they really are the backbone of the Australian economy,” he said.
“While the Federal Government has made some positive progress over the last three years in providing practical support to the small business sector – including a reduction in company tax, the extension of the instant asset write-off, the introduction of single touch payroll and a commitment to ensuring all small businesses are paid on time – there is some way to go before Australia becomes one of the easiest, most progressive countries in the world to do business.”
MYOB’s Business Monitor report, which surveys the opinions of 1000 Australian small businesses, also found that Australia’s small businesses expect to enjoy stronger revenue return in 2019, thanks to service diversification and increased online presence.
While more than a quarter (26 per cent ) of Australian small businesses reported revenue was up last year, this year is expected to be a rosier one, with one third (33 per cent) of businesses surveyed expecting revenue to increase in 2019.
Drilling into the changes businesses are making this year to achieve that goal, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said they will diversify their product range by adding more variety, and 25 per cent of businesses will increase sales online. For some, this will be a major step-change, with 37% of those surveyed reporting they don’t currently have any kind of online presence.
However, while businesses are excited for the year ahead, they’re less troubled about how they will get there, with just over one third (36 per cent) reporting they’ve written a business plan for 2019.
“It’s encouraging that small businesses are feeling positive about the year ahead, but I would urge caution to those that haven’t yet committed those dreams to paper with a documented business plan,” said Mr Reed.
“Business plans are essential tools for any business, big or small, in mapping out your goals and sticking to them. They don’t have to be long and complex, often one page outlining the challenges, opportunities and planned actions can help bring clarity to a small business. Profits can be won or lost on a plan, so taking time now to reflect and forecast will be a job that always pays off in the end.”
In its ninth year, the MYOB Business Monitor dissects key factors affecting small business. Topics include financial stability, business pressure points and online engagement.
When it comes to online engagement, small businesses have some catching up to do, with just 17 per cent saying they have both a business website and a social media profile. Meanwhile, of those businesses which have invested in an online presence, 44% report their digital footprint generates more customer enquiries.
While the outlook for the year ahead is more positive than the year that’s been, respondents did admit to having some worries going into 2019. The top issues most likely to cause Australian small businesses a lot to extreme concern this year are fuel prices (46 per cent), utility costs (38 per cent) and jointly price margins, attracting new customers and competitive activity (each 29 per cent).