The new financial year is almost here and, while it’s typically a time to review the year that was, it’s also a great time to look to the year ahead, writes Tamara Oppen, Managing Director at GoDaddy Australia.
Once you’ve tallied up your expenses and earnings for the tax office, it’s the perfect time to consider the new financial year outlook and what it might mean for your small business. Not only can it give you a chance to be prepared, it might give you an opportunity to get ahead.
So, let’s take a look at the crystal ball for the business year ahead.
The road ahead is bumpy
Many of the early indicators point to some challenges in the new financial year.
In May, interest rates rose for the first time in 11 years, with predictions of more rate rises to come. A number of industries and businesses are also still battling COVID-19 supply chain challenges. The energy watchdog has also flagged an electricity bill spike is coming for households and small businesses this year, after it approved a price rise.
However, it’s not all bad news. Consumer confidence rose 1.5 points to 90.8 in May on the ANZ-Roy Morgan index, with more Australians saying they expect their family to be “better off” financially next year. Encouragingly, Australian retail spending remains at record levels with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) saying turnover rose 0.9 per cent during April as customers spent up on food, travel and dining out over Easter. Employment also remains strong.
Many businesses are predicting price rises
Amid ongoing cost pressures, the latest business confidence insights reveal a number of small businesses are preparing to increase their costs. The May monthly business conditions survey from the ABS found 39 per cent of small businesses said they expect to increase the price of goods or services in the coming months.
Small businesses said the main pressures they faced were the costs of products or services, and fuel and energy. Of those businesses who didn’t expect to increase prices, 46 per cent said they wanted to focus on retaining customers.
So, what can small businesses do to prepare for the new financial year?
As business running costs increase and consumers face higher mortgage and electricity payments, now is an important time to protect your customer base. The end of the year is an opportunity to review your marketing efforts and consider what worked and what you could do better in the new year.
Identifying your unique value or point of difference from your competitors will be especially important if you have to pass on cost increases to your customers.
It might be time to consider whether a website would help your business attract more customers. Or whether your website needs new functionality like online payments, market integrations for Amazon, eBay and Etsy, or a whole website revamp to capitalise on the growing eCommerce trend in Australia.
Perhaps it’s time to explore social media or digital marketing to help grow your business. Social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram, are free to establish and there are plenty of short how-to guides from the platforms themselves or online third-party marketing packages to help you maximise your social channels.
State and local governments also have plenty of free tips, advice and webinars online to help you improve your small business offering, on topics from sustainability to freight logistics.
What else should small businesses look out for?
The Federal Government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre has warned all businesses to increase their cyber security resilience this year. It says one priority for Australian organisations online should be to secure their local .au domain name before a cybercriminal or imposter does.
Businesses with an existing Australian domain name like .com.au have priority to register for the new, shorter .au domain names before 20 September when the domain names are open to all.
Making a new year’s resolution
While you might not be ringing in the new financial year with a party, that doesn’t mean you can’t look at making some new year’s resolutions.
Whether you want to be prepared with a fresh business budget or consider some new marketing ideas, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to start the new year with a pop.
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