Six months after the pandemic took hold in Australia, the Business Monitor survey of 1,085 small businesses offers insight into how those businesses are performing. The survey shows that some sectors like agribusinesses have remained relatively unaffected, while SMEs in other sectors are facing profound impacts.
It is encouraging to see many small businesses fundamentally change their business model to continue trading amid social distancing, from the café that has embraced take-away to the gyms offering virtual personal training. Some 65 per cent of businesses surveyed were undertaking adaptive change.
Through JobKeeper, the Federal Government committed more than $101 billion to support businesses to keep people in work.
The Business Monitor survey shows JobKeeper has been popular. Over 40 per cent of survey respondents had accessed JobKeeper, and of those who did access the scheme, 37 per cent indicated they would not be trading today without it.
As recently as July, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that over 30 per cent of small businesses currently receiving support said they expect to reduce their workforce or defer investment if support ends.
As many as 10 per cent of all small businesses with under 20 staff expect they would need to close under such circumstances. Thankfully governments have other levers available to support small business, and by extension the wider economy, including regulatory and coordination powers.