SME concerns about US election trumped by global market volatility

As US presidential candidates, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, gear up for the third and final presidential debate ahead of the November vote, Aussie SMEs say they are more concerned about general global market volatility than the outcome of the US election.

According to Bentleys’ fifth The Voice of Australian Business Survey 2016, a national survey of SMEs across all industries and regions, 43% of Australian SMEs believe general global market volatility will have a negative impact on their business, while 77% say the outcome of the US election will have no impact on their business at all.

Global market volatility also ranked ahead of the potential slowdown of China’s economy, with 28% believing a drop in the economy of one of our biggest trading partners would be detrimental to their business; while terrorist activity ranked as the third highest concern, cited by 23% respondents as likely to have a negative impact their business.

Mr Kevin Cranfield, Director, Business Services, Audit of Bentleys said, “a globally connected market means that domestic economies are intrinsically linked to the global market movements or neighbouring economies, such as China in Australia’s case.

“In today’s environment, any business – regardless of size – can feel the repercussions of global volatility. This is especially true for the SME sector where businesses don’t usually have the same financial buffers or backing that larger organisations may have to sustain them through tough times.”

Meanwhile, the survey revealed that SME owners seemed unmoved by other international political and economic events that have occupied much of the recent news cycle. In addition to the sentiments around the U.S. election, more than three-quarters (81%) said the UK’s Brexit decision would have no bearing on their business at all.

“It’s no doubt that the American presidential campaign has enthralled many of us, but its impact on our economic outlook is minimal in the short-term. While there may be potential longer-term ramifications in varying degrees, depending on who is elected, it’s too early to speculate what these might be.

“Likewise, while there was an immediate but brief aftershock felt on markets following the decision of the UK to leave the European Union, the longer-term outcomes are yet to be determined. While the UK isn’t Australia’s largest trading partner, it is a significant one, and one that many SMEs engage in business with. Business decisions made by British businesses could have consequences for local companies, both big and small. However, the UK is still deciding on its Brexit strategy, so only time will tell what these longer-term consequences might be.”

Cranfield concluded, “the results from our research show SME owners are far more concerned with international events that could have an immediate impact on our economic outlook and stability, and therefore a direct impact on their businesses, as opposed to events – such as the US election or Brexit – that will need to play out further until we can clearly see their impacts.”

“The most successful SME owners are the ones who respond and navigate their businesses through the current environment, while also keeping an eye on the horizon and planning for the future.”

Inside Small Business

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