It seems that despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the global financial crisis, Australian businesses remain surprisingly optimistic about the future.
According to the 2009 Grant Thornton International Business Report, Australia is one of only 12 countries in the world that remain positive about the financial outlook for 2009.
While global optimism has slumped by 56 percent amongst privately held businesses (PHBs) in the last 12 months, pushing the Grant Thornton International optimism/pessimism barometer to a record negative balance of -16%, compared to a staggering +40% this time last year, Australia is fairing quite well with an optimistic outlook of +11 percent.
The International Business Report (IBR) tracks market sentiment amongst more than 7,200 business owners from 36 economies. Analysts create a global league data indicating whether countries have an optimistic/pessimistic outlook for the year.
Those that made the list for most positive include: India, Botswana, Phillipines, Brazil, Armenia, South Africa, Vietnam, Mainland China, Singapore, Australia, Canada and Malaysia.
The most pessimistic countries were Thailand, Spain and Japan.
Global leader of privately held business services, Alex MacBeath believes that the results prove there is still hope out there.
“These polarised results suggest that there are still pockets of hope in the global marketplace and it is no coincidence that PHBs are some of the first to realise.”
Almost two-thirds of Australian small businesses remain positive about the future of their business, according to the Commonwealth Bank/Investment Trends Small Business Owners Report.
The qualitative survey of 1,266 small business owners conducted in September 2008 has shown that while business owners are aware of the bad economic conditions, a large majority believe it is yet to affect their business.
However, Symon Brewis-Weston, executive general manager local business banking of the Commonwealth Bank, believes businesses are yet to feel the full impact of the volatility in the market and should prepare their business for tighter times.
“The number one priority for business owners should be to improve their cash flow practises. When times are tight business owners should look to speed up the cash flow cycle by chasing debtors, managing stock levels or reviewing their pricing.”
MacBeath has issued a similar dire warning, urging governments around the world to stand up and take notice.
“If politicians were in any doubt about the need to take steps to boost consumer spending and kick start the global economy this overwhelming consensus from PHBs should surely persuade them.”