The perfect storm of a volatile Australian dollar, coronavirus and a devastating bushfire season have all combined to create an uncertain economic environment for Australian small businesses.
As a relatively small, open economy Australia is undoubtedly susceptible to external economic headwinds however, it’s how we navigate and respond to these unknowns over the next few months which will determine their real impact.
Small business continues to be the engine room of our economy. Latest government statistics indicate that of the 2.24 million businesses currently operational in Australia, 2.18 million (97.3 per cent) are micro and small businesses (those with less than 20 employees).
Together, these small enterprises contribute 30 per cent of GDP, employ 44 per cent of all workers and generate 40 per cent of new jobs created. They are fundamental to our economic well-being and progression.
However, according to the most recent Sensis Business Index – released in November 2019 – SMB confidence in the Australian economy dropped five per cent quarter-on-quarter, more than one in four (26 per cent) SMBs believe current Federal Government policies are working against them and 36 per cent think the nation’s economy will be worse off in 12 months’ time.
Despite this apparent doom and gloom, the majority of SMBs (55 per cent) remain confident about their own individual business prospects over the next 12 months, illustrating perfectly the determination of the sector to succeed and grow.
With 1.3 million (60 per cent) of Australian small businesses turning over less that AUD$200,000 annually, the need to deliver appropriate domestic policy responses to benefit our small business, SMEs and the wider economy is now critical.
With Government now actively preparing for “a material impact on economic growth over the next two quarters’’ , it will have an essential role to play if the impact of these significant headwinds is to be mitigated. A fiscal stimulus package specifically addressing SMB cash flow issues could be a game changer.
At Bendigo Bank, our Business Banking offering is built on more than 160 years of strong customer and community relationships and specialist expertise.
We’re here to support our customers through the good times and the not-so-good times by deeply understanding their businesses and delivering value to our customers through a unique relationship and innovative banking model that is second to none.
With a vision to be Australia’s bank of choice, we proudly stand with our customers, people, partners and communities to feed into their prosperity, and not off it. It’s fundamental to everything we do; it’s engrained in our culture, evident in our business models and central to our relationships.
Bendigo Bank – Australia’s fifth largest retail bank – provides smart and personalised banking solutions, so let us help you successfully navigate today’s and tomorrow’s business environment challenges.