After a tough 12 months, small to medium-sized businesses are finally regaining faith in the economy with less concern over cash flow, fuel costs and interest rates.
The March 2013 Business Monitor – the latest installment of MYOB’s national study that began in 2004 – found that 26 percent of SMEs expected the domestic economy to improve within 12 months (26 percent), seven percentage points higher than July 2012 (19 percent).
“I’m pleased to see small and medium businesses are feeling more assured of an upturn,” said MYOB CEO Tim Reed, on the findings of the research.
The study, which looked at the business performance, attitudes and plans of 1,005 Australian business owners and managers, also found that 72 percent of SMEs expect increased or stable revenue results for this year, a substantial improvement from last year where only 58 percent saw that occur.
The proportion of business owners and managers expecting an economic improvement to take between one and two years is now 37 percent, down from 42 percent; and those who think it will take more than two years is now 22 percent, down from 24 percent.
On the flipside, 19 percent of SMEs expect a decline in revenue in 2013, while 10 percent remain uncertain about what the future holds.
For those expecting revenue to fall in the upcoming year, Reed recommends seeking advice from experienced business people.
“Our advice to them is to seek assistance from a business mentor, coach or advisor such as an accountant,” Reed said.
“Draw on their expert knowledge accumulated through years of experience working with other businesses. There’s a lot to be gained from the lessons learned by other businesses and their tactics to combat pressures.”
Reed also advises businesses to establish an online presence whether through an easy-to-navigate business website, teleworking, fast broadband or online accounting. Online media provides a direct channel to very large and wide array of consumers, 80 percent of whom are more likely to search online first when looking for a product or service.
“Establishing an online presence can help create new revenue streams, attract new customers, keep customers loyal and can also make your business more competitive,” said Reed.
“Successful Australian business owners are known for digging deep, embracing change and adapting. They find opportunities in the challenges. Leveraging new technologies, new organisational structures and better systems could help our independent businesses improve their operational and financial performance.”