The second annual Back to Business Survey commissioned by Telstra Business and the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) found small business confidence in the Australian economy is significantly lower than it was a year ago.
New taxes, higher interest rates and government red tape are the issues troubling business owners the most and they’re not expecting any improvement in confidence in the short term.
Key Findings from the 2011 Telstra Business/COSBOA Back to Business Survey included:
- The number of small business owners and operators who believe economic conditions are better now than they were six months ago has halved when compared to 2009. Just more than one in five (21%) said it was better, while a year ago 42% believed it was better.
- Almost a third of respondents (31%) expect the Australian economy to worsen before the middle of the year – an increase of 13% compared to the previous year – while 23% expect an improvement – down 23% compared to 12 months earlier.
- The potential for higher interest rates and their impact is very concerning for 44% and somewhat concerning for a further 33% of respondents, with the cost of Government compliance, the cost of finance, the possible introduction of an emissions trading scheme and tax reform also ranking highly.
- More than a third of small businesses (35%) have faced cash flow problems as a result of late payment by business creditors, with 34% of those having had to wait for more than six months for their longest payment.
- Three out of ten businesses (30%) believe developing an increased Web presence would improve the performance of their business, with networking and reducing debt also being ranked highly as positive measures for business.
- None of the political parties or independents that make up the Federal Parliament’s House of Representatives received a pass mark for their performance on small business issues, with Labor scoring 3.9 out of 10, the Coalition scoring 4.6, The Greens scoring 3.4 and independents scoring 3.8.
- The Federal Government scored marks of between 3.5 to 4.1 out of ten for six specific issues affecting small business.