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Small businesses bringing ‘economic stress’ home

The latest small business ‘stress survey’ commissioned by Microsoft Australia has indicated that an increasing number of small businesses are feeling the strain of the downturn, with many taking their stress home.

The survey found that 38 percent reported their business is currently struggling or worse, compared to this time last year; and nine out of 10 say the health of their business is having a negative impact on their personal lives.

“It appears that many small businesses have clearly been hit by the reality of the global economic downturn as many of Australia’s small businesses are feeling the pinch and experiencing increased stress in this climate of uncertainty,” said Inese Kingsmill, director of small and mid-market business, Microsoft Australia.

However, despite this, small businesses are still well positioned to ride out the crisis, with one in five expecting to continue investing in their people and replacing staff as necessary, with only 6 percent considering laying off employees.

Kingsmill said small business should remain positive as they have an opportunity to “look through the uncertainty and start preparing their businesses for the when the economy turns upwards.”

Microsoft has provided the following tips for small business on how they can better manage their operations in tough times.

  • Focus on the business’s core strengths, competencies and long term goals.
  • Think big picture. Ensure you develop and work to a long-term business plan and that your employees are kept informed of operational decisions.
  • Invest in your people and focus on nurturing the relationships that you have with your employees.
  • Take note of longer term trends, rather than getting sidetracked by short term fluctuations or anomalies.
  • Harness the tough times to grow market share – economic downturns may provide opportunities to attract new customers and strengthen existing relationships.
  • Make the most of the IT you’ve already got to improve operational efficiency.
  • Take advantage of State and Federal government and corporate business assistance initiatives, rebates and grants.

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