Findings from the Sensis Business Index for SME’s
The latest sensis business index survey covers performance during the quarter to end July 2011 and expectations forward for the rest of this financial year, and is the result of responses from over 1800 business owners – approx 1,400 small businesses and about 400 medium businesses ( more than 20 employees ) . Key findings were:
Business confidence fell further during the last quarter, with confidence now at the third lowest level recorded in the 18 year history of the sensis business index.
In line with the drop in confidence, there were also falls in all key performance indicators, wiht strong falls in particular recorded in sales and profitability. The latest fall left the profitability indicator at its lowest level in the history of the index. For the year ahead SMEs were expecting further falls on all indicators.
Support for the Federal government’s policies fell a further seven percentage points in the last quarter. The key reasons SMEs gave for feeling that the Federal government policies worked against them included the carbon tax and a view that the policies were impacting consumer confidence and spending. Net support has not seen lower levels since the Keating Government.
Confidence was highest in the health and community services sector but lowest in the retail trade sector. Regional businesses were more negative than metropolitan ones about the current state of the Australian economy as well as more negative on where the economy will be in one years time.
In terms of planned activities – 22% of business owners said they wanted to personally work less in the business, 18% said they were looking to seek professional assistance to grow and 17% said they would sell or close the business during this financial year. Interestingly 38% planned to increase their digital presence and 26% said they wanted to introduce to increase their social media activities.