A new survey reveals that almost half (46 per cent) of Australia’s small-business owners are only “somewhat” confident of their business thriving in a post-COVID-19 world, while a further eight per cent are “not at all’ confident their business will thrive. Despite this decline in confidence, the survey – released by global commerce company Shopify – shows that 31 per cent of small-business owners are still planning to start a new business in 2021.
The survey conducted in May 2021 before the most recent lockdowns in Sydney, Perth and Darwin, noted the key challenges that small-business owners faced in the previous 12 months, and their plans for the future.
Cashflow and profitability were identified as the main challenges, selected by 36 per cent of respondents, followed by social distancing restrictions and lock down laws at 35 per cent. One-in-five had to cut down on expenses, including by letting go of staff, between May 2020 and May 2021.
Interestingly, when asked to identify the initiatives that most helped them get through the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, 41 per cent of respondents attributed their survival to their personal skills, and only 22 per cent said JobKeeper played the biggest part in helping their businesses survive. Asked to identify their priorities over the next six to12 months, the most popular response was “building customer loyalty” (40 per cent).
Shaun Broughton, Managing Director of APAC for Shopify, said that the survey results reflect the current entrepreneurial economy sweeping Australia.
“Australians have proven time and time again that they find inventive ways to prevail in times of struggle and uncertainty,” Broughton said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception. Australian small-business owners are keeping their entrepreneurial spirit alive through starting new businesses this year.
“The fact they elected their personal grit, determination and resilience as the top survival method is further proof Australian small-business owners have what it takes to make it on top and are invaluable assets to our economy,” Broughton added.