MYOB Australian Small Business Survey

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1 MYOB Australian Small Business Survey December 2008 Small Business Survey Report Report prepared for Report prepared by MYOB Contact: AMR Interactive contact Naomi Helleren Mel Lynch Public Relations Survey Project Manager Tel: (03) Tel: (02) Web: Web: 12 Wesley Crt Ogilvy House Burwood East 72 Christie St, St Leonards VIC 3135 NSW 2065

2 Table of Contents Table of Contents... 2 List of Tables and Figures... 3 About the study... 5 Perceptions of own business (current)... 7 Perceptions of own business (current)... 7 Perceptions of own business (future) Factors underpinning expectations for business performance Expectations for future economic performance Perceptions of Federal Government performance Perceptions of State Government performance Outlook for specific business issues (positive) Outlook for specific business issues (negative) Outlook for business revenue Expectations for increases in business revenue Expectations for decreases in business revenue Expectation of investing in own business Expected amount of investment in own businesses Intention of employing or reducing staff Preferred method of recruitment Employee types Domain name registered Business website Appendix 1 Perceptions of current and future business performance Appendix 2 Confidence in business & economy outlook Appendix 3 Positive & negative outlook for specific business issues Appendix 4 Perceptions of State Government performance Appendix 5 Survey questions

3 List of Tables and Figures Figure 1: Perceptions of current business performance by industry (%)... 7 Figure 2: Confidence in business prospects over the next 12 months by state and industry (%)... 9 Figure 3: Performance outlook for own business over the next 12 months (%) Figure 3.1: Performance outlook (better than now) for own business over the next 12 months by state (%) Figure 3.2: Performance outlook (better than now) for own business over the next 12 months by industry (%) Table 1: Factors underpinning small businesses expectations for future business performance (%) Figure 4: Performance outlook for the Australian economy over the next 12 months (%) Figure 4.1: Performance outlook for the Australian economy over the next 12 months by state (%) Figure 4.2: Performance outlook for the Australian economy over the next 12 months by industry (%) Figure 5: Federal Government s contribution to the development of small business in Australia (%) Figure 5.1: Federal Government s contribution to the development of small business in Australia by state (%) Figure 5.2: Federal Government s contribution to the development of small business in Australia by industry (%) Figure 6: State Government s contribution to development of small business (%) Figure 6.1: State Government s contribution to development of small business by state (%) Figure 6.2: State Government s contribution to development of small business by industry (%) Figure 7: Small business owners with positive outlook on specific issues (%) Figure 8: Small business owners with negative outlook on specific issues (%) Figure 9: Outlook for own business revenue in the next 12 months (%) Figure 9.1: Outlook ( increase ) for own business revenue in the next 12 months by state (%) Figure 9.2: Outlook ( increase ) for own business revenue in the next 12 months by industry (%) Figure 10: Percentage of increases in own business revenue in the next 12 months (%).. 28 Figure 11: Percentage of decreases in own business revenue in the next 12 months (%). 29 Figure 12: Expectation of investing in own business in the next 6 months (%) Figure 12.1: Expectation of investing in own business in the next 6 months by industry (%) Figure 13: Expected amount of investment in small business (%) Figure 14: Expectation of hiring or reducing employees within the next 12 months (%)

4 Figure 14.1: Expectation of hiring employees within the next 12 months by business size (%) Figure 14.2: Expectation of hiring employees within the next 12 months by state and industry (%) Figure 15: Method of seeking employees (%) Table 2: Type of employees of small businesses (%) Figure 16: Business having domain name registered (%) Figure 17: Businesses with a website (%) Figure 21: Small businesses confidence in business prospects and expectations for the economic performance over 12 months time Figure 22: Small businesses confidence in business prospects and expectations for the economic performance over 12 months time Figure 23: Proportion of small businesses with POSITIVE outlook for specific business issues over the next 12 months Figure 23.1: Proportion of small businesses with NEGATIVE outlook for specific business issues over the next 12 months Figure 24: Small businesses perceptions of the State Governments performance in contributing to the development of small business in Australia

5 About the study This report presents the summary findings for key indicators from the MYOB Australian Small Business Survey comprising a national sample of 1,385 small business proprietors and general managers, conducted in November and December The small businesses participating in the online survey are defined as both non-employing and employing businesses with less than 20 employees. Results have been weighted to reflect the small business population distribution according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for company size, length of time operating, region and selected ANZSIC Industry divisions (refer to ABS publications Characteristics of Small Business, 2004; and Counts of Australian Businesses, June 2006; ) The key indicators presented in this report include: Small Business Issues: Perceptions of current business performance Confidence in future business prospects Expectations for future business performance and factors underpinning the expectation Outlook for specific business issues such as sales, cash flow, business costs and other issues Outlook for business revenue Likelihood to invest in own business within the next 6 months, and the likely amount of any such investment Expectation of employing or reducing staff in the next 12 months Methods of finding employees Composition of small businesses workforce Government Issues: Perceptions of the State and Federal Governments performance in contributing to small business development in Australia 5

6 The findings of the research are reported by industry type: Industry Sample Agriculture 139 Manufacturing 98 Construction 258 Wholesale Trade 64 Retail Trade 182 Accommodation, Café and Restaurants 33 Transport and Storage 79 Communication, Media and Marketing Services 21 Finance and Insurance 28 Property and Business Services 202 Education 26 Health and Community Services 86 Cultural and Recreational Services 44 Personal and Other Services 79 Information & Communications Technology 42 Tourism 4* Total 1385 Note: * Tourism is included in the total statistics reported but is not reported at an industry level due to a low sample size. The findings are also reported by state for some questions: State Sample NSW 393 VIC 334 QLD 303 SA 109 WA 157 TAS 46 NT 14* ACT 29* Total 1385 Note: * Sample sizes for NT and ACT are too small for reliable statistics at a State level, but are included in the total figures. 6

7 Perceptions of own business (current) Majority of small business owners surveyed report a positive current business performance Figure 1: Perceptions of current business performance by industry (%) Very well/ Quite well Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 61% 12% 73% 70% 74% 74% Total by Industry Communication, media and marketing services 73% 2% 75% 70% 81% 74% Construction 70% 12% 82% 80% 80% 74% IT/Information & Communication Technology 68% 15% 83% 66% 62% 82% Transport and storage 66% 16% 82% 72% 75% 84% Property and business services 66% 12% 78% 78% 80% 82% Wholesale trade 64% 11% 75% 56% 68% 70% Education 61% 17% 78% 71% 79% 75% Personal and other services 60% 10% 70% 65% 72% 72% Health and community services 59% 13% 72% 66% 79% 75% Finance and insurance 59% 12% 71% 79% 77% 81% Accommodation, café and restaurants 57% 10% 67% 72% 81% 73% Cultural and recreational services 54% 10% 64% 66% 69% 62% Manufacturing 53% 9% 62% 77% 67% 81% Agriculture 53% 12% 65% 60% 74% 70% Retail Trade 51% 11% 62% 60% 63% 66% Quite well Very well 7

8 Base: Small businesses owners (n=1385) Q: Thinking about the current performance of your own business, do you think your business is performing very well, quite well, not very well, not at all well, don t know? AMR Interactive, December 2008 The majority (73%) of small business owners surveyed reported their business as currently performing very or quite well. This is consistent with results from previous quarters. Small business owners in the IT/Information and Communication Technology sector report the most prosperous performance, with 83% reporting a very or quite well performance. This is a sharp increase from the 66% reported in September 2008 and 62% in June Following this sector are the Construction and Transport and Storage sectors, both of which have 82% of its small business owners reporting very or quite well for their current business performance. The largest shift in industry results can be seen in the Wholesale Trade sector where there is an increase of 19% in positive performance from 56% in September 2008 to 75% in December This is a reversal of the gradual decline in positive results noted in previous quarters for those small businesses in the Wholesale Trade. Small business owners in the Retail Trade industry have the lowest reported levels of good current performance, with 62% reporting their business is doing very or quite well. 8

9 Confidence in future business prospects 61% of small business owners surveyed are confident in their future business prospects Figure 2: Confidence in business prospects over the next 12 months by state and industry (%) Extremely/Fairly Confident Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 48% 13% 61% 68% 69% 72% Total by State TAS 62% 9% 71% 83% 78% 69% WA 56% 19% 75% 75% 70% 71% VIC 53% 11% 63% 67% 68% 71% NSW 46% 15% 61% 63% 71% 67% SA 44% 14% 58% 70% 74% 72% QLD 42% 14% 56% 70% 66% 78% Total by Industry Wholesale trade 59% 12% 71% 62% 64% 65% Communication, Media and Marketing services 58% 8% 66% 70% 70% 67% Education 57% 19% 76% 64% 73% 78% Cultural and recreational services 55% 10% 65% 68% 72% 67% Accommodation, café and restaurants 54% 19% 73% 84% 67% 82% IT/Information & Communication Technology 53% 15% 68% 68% 69% 73% Finance and insurance 52% 16% 68% 73% 74% 74% Health & Community services 51% 14% 65% 69% 84% 76% Personal and other services 50% 16% 66% 62% 71% 73% Constructions 50% 11% 61% 74% 73% 75% Agriculture 48% 11% 59% 47% 51% 59% Manufacturing 46% 6% 52% 62% 60% 74% Property and business services 45% 16% 61% 78% 81% 77% Retail trade 43% 15% 58% 68% 67% 66% Transport ans Storage 40% 15% 55% 74% 66% 71% Fairly confident Extremely confident 9

10 Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Thinking about the next twelve months, how confident do you feel about the prospects for your own business? AMR Interactive, December 2008 The majority (61%) of small business owners surveyed are confident in their future business prospects. There has been consistent delcines in confidnece over the past 4 quarters ranging from 72% in March 2008, 69% in June 2008 and 68% in September Small business owners in Western Australia and Tasmania have above average confidence with 75% and 71% respectively reportedly fairly or extremely confident. For WA, this inlcudes 19% who are extrememly confident. South Australia (58%) and Queensland (56%) on the other hand show small business owners with the lowest levels of confidence in future prospects. In regards to industry, Education and the Accomodation, Café and Restaurant sectors are the most confident with 76% and 73% reporting a confident or extremely confident outlook. The Manufacturing sector is the least confident with only 52% reporting confidence in business prospects. This is followed by Transport and Storage with 55%, showing a 19% decline in confidence since September

11 Perceptions of own business (future) Just under half (46%) of small business owners surveyed report a better than now outlook for their business Figure 3: Performance outlook for own business over the next 12 months (%) Worse than now, 12% Unsure, 7% Better than now, 46% No change, 35% Figure 3.1: Performance outlook (better than now) for own business over the next 12 months by state (%) Better Than Now Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 46% 46% 50% 56% 54% Total by State TAS 54% 54% 62% 50% 50% QLD 53% 53% 51% 55% 62% VIC 46% 46% 52% 53% 56% NSW 45% 45% 47% 59% 52% WA 41% 41% 54% 57% 57% SA 32% 32% 47% 54% 45% 11

12 Figure 3.2: Performance outlook (better than now) for own business over the next 12 months by industry (%) Better Than Now Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 46% 46% 50% 56% 54% Total by Industry Cultural and recreational services 60% 60% 49% 57% 51% Finance and Insurance 55% 55% 52% 63% 60% Communication, Media and Marketing services 54% 54% 50% 60% 56% Personal and other services 52% 52% 49% 54% 55% Education 52% 52% 59% 57% 51% Wholesale trade 50% 50% 56% 59% 60% Health and Community services 50% 50% 61% 65% 55% Retail Trade 50% 50% 56% 60% 60% Property and Business services 48% 48% 58% 64% 59% IT/Information & Communication Technology 48% 48% 52% 58% 38% Agriculture 48% 48% 34% 47% 42% Accommodation, Café and Restaurants 44% 44% 65% 64% 72% Manufacturing 43% 43% 49% 58% 59% Construction 38% 38% 43% 54% 51% Transport and Storage 29% 29% 47% 27% 51% Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Now thinking about the performance outlook for your own business over the next 12 months, do you think your business will perform better than now, worse than now, no change, don t know? AMR Interactive, December

13 Just under half (46%) of small business owners surveyed believe their business will perform better than now over the next 12 months. Consistent with the previous quarter, Tasmania (54%) has the highest level of small business owners reporting a potentially better than now performance. In line with South Australia having one of the lowest confidence levels in business prospects, small business owners in South Australia are also shown to have the lowest levels of reporting a better than now performance over the next 12 months, with only 32% reporting a better than now performance outlook. Small business owners in the Transport and Storage industry have by far the least confident performance outlook, with only 29% reporting a better than now performance. This is more than half the performance outlook of Cultural and Recreational Service (60%) who are the most confident sector. 13

14 Factors underpinning expectations for business performance Consumer/end user trend changing favouraly is sited as the most common reason for expecting a better than now performance Table 1: Factors underpinning small businesses expectations for future business performance (%) Factor Expectation for Future Business Performance Better than now (n=637) Worse than now (n=173) No Change (n=480) Current tax levels 5% 15% 16% Future proposed tax changes - going up 4% 6% 5% Future proposed tax changes - going down 5% 1% 2% Petrol prices too high 7% 25% 18% Petrol prices forecast reduction 17% 1% 7% Employment market favourable for employers 6% 3% 3% Lack of available trained workers to draw on 8% 12% 8% Increase in Government investment in my industry 9% 1% 4% Decrease in Government investment in my industry 1% 14% 6% Increase in competitive activity 13% 32% 24% Decrease in competitive activity 14% 6% 4% Organic growth of my industry is increasing 28% 1% 5% Decline in growth rate of my industry 3% 49% 18% Consumer/end user trends changing favourably 43% 3% 9% Consumer/end user trends changing unfavourably 3% 53% 19% Other 15% 18% 11% Base: Those who responded better than now, worse than now or no change to Q3 (n=1290) Q: You mentioned that you expect your business to be Better than now, Worse than now OR Have no change over the next 12 months, what are the factors underpinning your expectation? (Multiple choices) AMR Interactive, December 2008 Of the small business owners who believe their business will perform better than now over the next 12 months (46% of sample), 43% of this group attributed this to consumer/end user trends changing favourably. This is followed by 28% who attribute this to having organic growth of their industry increase. Of those small business owners who foresee a worse than now performance (12% of sample), this is largely attributed to consumer/end user trends changing unfavourably (53%), a decline in the growth rate of their industry (49%) and increase in competitor activity. 14

15 Expectations for future economic performance More than half (58%) of small business owners surveyed expect the economy will perform worse than now over the next 12 months Figure 4: Performance outlook for the Australian economy over the next 12 months (%) Economy Outlook Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Better than now 17% 17% 18% 16% 14% No change 14% 14% 21% 17% 19% Worse than now 58% 58% 49% 58% 58% Unsure 11% 11% 13% 9% 10% Figure 4.1: Performance outlook for the Australian economy over the next 12 months by state (%) Better than now Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 58% 17% 17% 18% 16% 14% Total by State SA 65% 6% 6% 12% 19% 15% VIC 64% 15% 15% 17% 14% 11% TAS 61% 24% 24% 25% 11% 9% NSW 58% 13% 13% 19% 15% 14% WA 54% 20% 20% 18% 18% 15% QLD 51% 23% 23% 18% 18% 16% Worse than now Better than now 15

16 Figure 4.2: Performance outlook for the Australian economy over the next 12 months by industry (%) Better Than Now Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 58% 17% 17% 18% 16% 14% Total by Industry Agriculture 68% 17% 17% 10% 13% 10% Health and community services 67% 10% 10% 10% 15% 13% Accommodation, café and restaurants 63% 19% 19% 18% 16% 17% Property and business services 62% 14% 14% 18% 16% 15% Manufacturing 61% 15% 15% 7% 14% 15% Constructions 57% 16% 16% 18% 21% 14% Finance and insurance 55% 27% 27% 24% 14% 18% IT/Information & Communication Technology 55% 7% 7% 30% 25% 9% Personal and other services 55% 23% 23% 16% 18% 12% Retail Trade 55% 18% 18% 22% 16% 16% Transport and storage 52% 20% 20% 29% 13% 13% Cultural and recreational services 48% 18% 18% 22% 11% 14% Education 46% 20% 20% 20% 16% 26% Communication, media and marketing services 44% 20% 20% 20% 14% 13% Wholesale trade 41% 30% 30% 25% 16% 9% Worse than now Better than now Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Thinking more generally about the condition of the overall Australian economy over the next 12 months time, do you think it will perform... better than now, worse than now, no change, don t know? AMR Interactive, December

17 More than half (58%) of small business owners surveyed expect that the Australian economy will perform worse than now over the next 12 months. While only 17% of small business owners surveyed reported expecting a better than now economic performance over the next 12 months, which is consistent with previous quarters. Tasmania is again the most optimistic state, with 24% of small business owners surveyed expecting the Australian economy to perform better than now over the next 12 months. This is followed by Queensland with 23%. Only 6% of small business owners in South Australia reported having a positive outlook for the Australian economy. A total of 30% of small business owners in the Wholesale Trade industry expect a better than now performance from the Australian economy, along with 27% of small business owners in the Finance and Insurance industry. 17

18 Perceptions of Federal Government performance Just under half (47%) of small business owners surveyed report a poor contribution to small business by the Federal Government Figure 5: Federal Government s contribution to the development of small business in Australia (%) Unsure, 9% Good/very good, 18% Poor/very poor, 47% Neither good nor poor, 26% Figure 5.1: Federal Government s contribution to the development of small business in Australia by state (%) Very/Somewhat Poor Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 47% 26% 18% 47% 56% 56% 44% SA 52% 19% 14% 52% 64% 61% 48% VIC 49% 25% 18% 49% 51% 54% 45% TAS 48% 28% 17% 48% 33% 39% 42% NSW 47% 28% 16% 47% 52% 54% 47% WA 45% 29% 21% 45% 46% 54% 37% QLD 44% 26% 20% 44% 58% 61% 48% Very/Somewhat poor Neither Very/Somewhat good 18

19 Figure 5.2: Federal Government s contribution to the development of small business in Australia by industry (%) Very/Somewhat Poor Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 47% 26% 18% 47% 56% 56% 44% Total by Industry Agriculture 63% 17% 16% 63% 54% 60% 48% Finance and insurance 53% 27% 14% 53% 48% 52% 31% Accommodation, café and restaurants 53% 27% 16% 53% 76% 63% 45% Transport and storage 52% 20% 20% 52% 53% 69% 46% Retail Trade 52% 22% 14% 52% 51% 59% 49% Wholesale trade 48% 37% 10% 48% 54% 68% 53% Construction 47% 28% 16% 47% 54% 59% 44% Education 46% 26% 25% 46% 44% 43% 35% Property and business services 44% 25% 24% 44% 56% 52% 42% Communication, media and marketing services 44% 23% 20% 44% 38% 36% 43% Health and community services 43% 32% 13% 43% 48% 40% 31% Manufacturing 41% 28% 21% 41% 66% 60% 56% Cultural and recreational services 36% 22% 26% 36% 32% 30% 37% IT/Information & Communication Technology 35% 25% 29% 35% 47% 45% 25% Personal and other services 34% 28% 22% 34% 43% 49% 40% Very/Somewhat poor Neither Very/Somewhat good Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: How would you rate the Federal Government s current performance in contributing to the development of small business in Australia? AMR Interactive, December 2008 Just under half (47%) of small business owners surveyed report a poor or very poor performance by the Federal Government in their contribution to the development of small 19

20 business in Australia. This represents a 9% decline in the negative performance rating since September 2008 and June 2008 (both 56%). All states, with the exception of Tasmania, have seen a decrease in small business owners reporting negative performance, with Queensland seeing the biggest decline of 14% since September 2008 and 17% since June Tasmania on the other hand, has seen a 15% increase in negative performance rating. 20

21 Perceptions of State Government performance 59% of small business owners surveyed report a poor contribution to small business by their State Government Figure 6: State Government s contribution to development of small business (%) Good/very good, 10% Unsure, 7% Poor/very poor, 59% Neither good nor poor, 23% Figure 6.1: State Government s contribution to development of small business by state (%) Very/ Somewhat Poor Total 59% 23% 10% Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 59% 61% 63% 55% Total by State NSW 76% 14% 5% 76% 76% 69% 62% TAS 71% 24% 4% 71% 50% 49% 61% SA 58% 28% 7% 58% 69% 64% 57% VIC 56% 25% 10% 56% 57% 58% 57% QLD 50% 28% 14% 50% 56% 61% 46% WA 50% 33% 10% 50% 51% 62% 45% Very/Somewhat poor Neither Very/Somewhat good 21

22 Figure 6.2: State Government s contribution to development of small business by industry (%) Very/ Somewhat Poor Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 59% 23% 10% 59% 61% 63% 55% Total by Industry Accommodation, café and restaurants 77% 16% 1% 77% 71% 67% 58% Agriculture 66% 20% 10% 66% 75% 74% 63% Wholesale trade 66% 26% 8% 66% 54% 70% 63% Manufacturing 63% 16% 12% 63% 65% 61% 65% IT/Information & Communication Technology 62% 20% 13% 62% 62% 50% 47% Retail Trade 61% 19% 6% 61% 62% 63% 55% Transport and storage 61% 22% 13% 61% 58% 76% 60% Finance and insurance 61% 24% 8% 61% 52% 60% 48% Cultural and recreational services 61% 21% 7% 61%l 50% 41% 54% Health and community services 58% 22% 8% 58% 51% 43% 44% Property and business services 57% 25% 12% 57% 63% 66% 55% Construction 56% 30% 11% 56% 62% 62% 51% Communication, media and marketing services 56% 30% 6% 56% 59% 54% 56% Personal and other services 53% 25% 8% 53% 54% 61% 51% Education 50% 37% 10% 50% 59% 47% 42% Very/Somewhat poor Neither Very/Somewhat good Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: How would you rate the State Government s current performance in contributing to the development of small business in Australia? AMR Interactive, December 08 More than half (59%) of the small business owners surveyed are currently unhappy with their State Governments contribution to small business, with 31% of this group rating the State Governments contribution as very poor. 22

23 Small business owners in New South Wales are currently the most dissatisfied state with their State Government, with 76% of small business owners reporting a poor or very poor contribution to the development of small business. This is consistent with the results from September Also consistent with the previous quarter, small business owners in Western Australia are the happiest with their State Government s contribution with only 50% reporting a poor or very poor performance. 23

24 Outlook for specific business issues (positive) Sales remain the most positive issue for small business owners Figure 7: Small business owners with positive outlook on specific issues (%) Positive/Very Positive Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Sales 35% 17% 52% 52% 58% 62% Marketing and customer relationships 34% 18% 52% 49% 57% 55% Profitability 33% 13% 49% 48% 50% 53% Cash flow 31% 16% 47% 51% 52% 55% Interest rates 29% 5% 34% 16% 8% 6% Business systems (IT, accounting) 22% 5% 57% 28% 31% 29% Business costs 19% 8% 27% 23% 20% 23% Competitor activity 17% 8% 25% 21% 23% 25% Federal Government policies 12% 3% 15% 7% 12% 13% Local Government policies 9% 2% 11% 7% 9% 8% Exchange rates 9% 2% 11% 8% 12% 15% Positive Very positive Base: Small business owners (n= 1385) Q: Listed below are a number of issues that your business will deal with over the next 12 months. Thinking only about your own business, please indicate your outlook for each of these issues, where 1 = very negative outlook, 2 = somewhat negative outlook, 3 = neutral, 4 = somewhat positive outlook and 5 = very positive outlook. (If this is not applicable to your business, select 6) AMR Interactive, December 2008 As with previous quarters Sales is the issue small business owners look upon most favourably, with 52% reporting a positive or very positive outlook for Sales. The outlook for Marketing and customer relationship is also reported as positive or very positive by 52% of small business owners. 24

25 Outlook for specific business issues (negative) Business costs have the most negative outloook Figure 8: Small business owners with negative outlook on specific issues (%) Negative/Very Negative Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Business costs 29% 4% 33% 41% 46% 36% Profitability 18% 5% 23% 23% 22% 20% Cash flow 17% 4% 21% 21% 19% 17% Exchange rates 16% 9% 24% 28% 18% 20% Competitor activity 16% 3% 19% 18% 20% 17% Federal Government policies 15% 7% 22% 34% 31% 31% Local Government policies 14% 7% 21% 34% 31% 28% Sales 12% 3% 15% 14% 13% 12% Interest rates 12% 4% 16% 37% 52% 59% Business systems (IT, accounting) 3% 1% 4% 6% 6% 6% Marketing and customer relationships 3% 1% 4% 5% 6% 4% Negative Very negative Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Listed below are a number of issues that your business will deal with over the next 12 months. Thinking only about your own business, please indicate your outlook for each of these issues, where 1 = very negative outlook, 2 = somewhat negative outlook, 3 = neutral, 4 = somewhat positive outlook and 5 = very positive outlook. (If this is not applicable to your business select 6) AMR Interactive, December 2008 The most negatively received issue for small business owners is the outlook for business costs, with 33% of small business owners surveyed reporting a negative or very negative outlook. This is followed by exchange rates, with 24% of small business owners reporting a negative or very negative outlook. 25

26 Outlook for business revenue 44% of small business owners surveyed believe their business revenue will increase over the next 12 months Figure 9: Outlook for own business revenue in the next 12 months (%) Don t know, 11% Decrease, 17% Increase, 44% Remain unchanged, 28% Figure 9.1: Outlook ( increase ) for own business revenue in the next 12 months by state (%) Increase Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 44% 44% 53% 58% 58% Total by State TAS 50% 50% 69% 47% 69% VIC 46% 46% 55% 54% 52% QLD 46% 46% 53% 55% 67% WA 43% 43% 53% 68% 62% NSW 41% 41% 50% 59% 56% SA 34% 34% 50% 60% 46% 26

27 Figure 9.2: Outlook ( increase ) for own business revenue in the next 12 months by industry (%) Increase Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 44% 44% 53% 58% 58% Total by Industry Accommodation, café and restaurants 61% 61% 70% 70% 75% Communication, Media and Marketing services 55% 55% 54% 68% 59% Finance and Insurance 54% 54% 56% 65% 68% Personal and other services 53% 53% 53% 51% 55% Health and Community services 49% 49% 63% 71% 57% Cultural and Recreational services 49% 49% 49% 61% 61% Property and Business services 48% 48% 61% 66% 67% Retail Trade 46% 46% 57% 61% 58% Manufacturing 45% 45% 48% 58% 52% Wholesale trade 43% 43% 59% 58% 64% Education 42% 42% 65% 52% 56% Agriculture 41% 41% 43% 45% 48% IT/Information & Communication Technology Constructions 39% 36% 39% 57% 65% 60% 36% 44% 52% 56% Transport and storage 29% 29% 53% 39% 54% Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Do you expect your business revenue to increase, decrease or remain unchanged in the next 12 months? AMR Interactive, December 2008 Consistent with the 46% of small business owners who reported an expected better than now performance of their business over the next 12 months, 44% of small business owners surveyed expect an increase in business revenue over the next 12 months. 27

28 Expectations for increases in business revenue Of those small business owners who expect their revenue to increase (44%), the most common increase in revenue expected by this group is between 6 and 10% Figure 10: Percentage of increases in own business revenue in the next 12 months (%) Expect Revenue to Increase Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 45% 1-5% 14% 14% 22% 19% 21% 6-10% 31% 31% 33% 29% 35% 11-15% 16% 16% 17% 15% 13% 49% 16-20% 14% 14% 11% 12% 13% More than 20% 19% 19% 17% 25% 18% Base: Small business owners that expect their revenue to increase in the next 12 months (n=606) Q: How much do you expect your revenue to increase in the next 12 months? AMR Interactive, December 2008 Of those small business owners who expect an increase in revenue over the next 12 months (44% of sample), 31% of this group expect this increase to be between 6 and 10%. 28

29 Expectations for decreases in business revenue Of those small business owners who expect their revenue to decrease (17%), more than half of this group expect their revenue decrease to be more than 11% Figure 11: Percentage of decreases in own business revenue in the next 12 months (%) Expect Revenue to Decrease Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 10% 12% 11% 9% 1-5% 10% 36% 6-10% 26% 26% 32% 35% 29% 11-15% 18% 18% 18% 16% 24% 55% 16-20% 15% 15% 17% 17% 17% More than 20% 22% 22% 21% 21% 21% Base: Small businesses that expect their revenue to decrease in the next 12 months (n=234) Q: How much do you expect your revenue to decrease in the next 12 months? AMR Interactive, December 2008 Of those small business owners surveyed who expect a decrease in revenue over the next 12 months (17% of sample), 55% of this group expect this decrease to be more than 11%, with 22% of this group expecting the decrease to be more than 20%. 29

30 Expectation of investing in own business One-third (37%) of small business owners surveyd expect to invest in their own business over the next 6 months Figure 12: Expectation of investing in own business in the next 6 months (%) Unsure, 14% Yes, 37% No, 49% Figure 12.1: Expectation of investing in own business in the next 6 months by industry (%) Expect to Invest Total Total by Industry 37% Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 37% 29% 31% 32% Wholesale trade Cultural and recreational services Communication, media and marketing services IT/Information & Communication Technology Agriculture Education Retail Trade Property and Business services Personal and other services Accommodation, café and restaurants Constructions Finance and Insurance Manufacturing Health and community services Transport and storage 52% 51% 46% 46% 45% 43% 38% 36% 36% 35% 34% 34% 33% 26% 25% 30 52% 47% 47% 39% 51% 35% 39% 43% 46% 40% 35% 43% 46% 29% 45% 29% 45% 24% 33% 34% 43% 44% 35% 37% 38% 34% 35% 31% 36% 30% 33% 41% 36% 22% 30% 28% 35% 36% 42% 42% 34% 25% 26% 21% 34% 23% 31% 43% 33% 26% 34% 28% 26% 23% 31% 26% 25% 22% 20% 36%

31 Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Within the next 6 months, do you expect to invest money in order to help your business grow? AMR Interactive, December 2008 While just under half (49%) of small business owners do not expect to invest in their own business in the next 6 months, 37% do intend on investing money in order to help their business grow. 31

32 Expected amount of investment in own businesses Of the small business owners who expect to invest money in their own business (37%), one-third (35%) of this group expect to invest between $10,000 and $50,000 Figure 13: Expected amount of investment in small business (%) Amount Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Less than $5,000 23% 23% 24% 19% 19% $5,000-$9,999 21% 21% 25% 21% 24% $10,000-$50,000 35% 35% 30% 33% 37% More than $50,000 15% 15% 14% 20% 15% Don't know/not sure 7% 7% 6% 7% 5% Base: Small business owners who intend on investing money in their business (n=515) Q: Approximately how much do you expect to invest in the next 6 months to help grow your business? AMR Interactive, December 2008 Of those small business owners who do intend on investing in their own business (37% of sample), the most common amount of investment is between $10,000 and $50,000 with 35% of this group reporting this amount. A total of 44% of these business owners expect to invest $9,999 or less. 32

33 Intention of employing or reducing staff 1 in 10 (14%) small business owners surveyed intend to hire employees in the next 12 months Figure 14: Expectation of hiring or reducing employees within the next 12 months (%) Reduce Employees, 4% Neither hire or reduce, 35% I am a sole trader and do not intend to hire, 44% Hire more employees, 14% Figure 14.1: Expectation of hiring employees within the next 12 months by business size (%) Intend to Hire Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 14% 14% 17% 19% 20% Total by Business Size Sole trader (no employees) 6% 6% 8% 9% 10% 1 employee 18% 18% 19% 24% 27% 2 to 4 employees 30% 30% 33% 31% 30% 5 to 9 employees 33% 33% 48% 36% 39% 10 to 19 employees 30% 30% 42% 46% 53% 33

34 Figure 14.2: Expectation of hiring employees within the next 12 months by state and industry (%) Intend to Hire Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Total 14% 14% 17% 19% 20% Total by State WA 18% 18% 29% 23% 24% QLD 15% 15% 21% 16% 23% VIC 14% 14% 13% 21% 18% SA 13% 13% 13% 18% 13% NSW 13% 13% 13% 17% 20% TAS 7% 7% 7% 15% 24% Total by Industry Property and business services 18% 18% 19% 24% 19% Communication, media and marketing services 18% 18% 26% 26% 21% Manufacturing 17% 17% 26% 21% 26% Accommodation, café and restaurants 17% 17% 25% 32% 34% Cultural and recreational services 16% 16% 10% 21% 16% IT/Information & Communication Technology 16% 16% 19% 20% 14% Agriculture 13% 13% 9% 8% 14% Wholesale trade 13% 13% 24% 15% 27% Constructions 13% 13% 19% 21% 24% Retail Trade 13% 13% 15% 17% 22% Personal and other services 12% 12% 9% 14% 15% Finance and insurance 12% 12% 15% 16% 25% Health and community services 11% 11% 17% 20% 18% Transport and storage 6% 6% 11% 12% 4% Education 4% 4% 16% 15% 20% 34

35 Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Do you intend to hire or reduce employees within the next 12 months? AMR Interactive, December 2008 There has been a slight decline in the number of small business owners who intend on hiring more employees over the coming 12 months, with only 14% intending to do so. A total of 35% do not intend on reducing or increasing the number of employees in their business. The number of larger small businesses (between 10 and 19 employees) who intend to employ more staff over the next 12 months has declined from previous quarters, with a 15% decline from September 2008 in businesses with 5-9 employees and a 12% decrease of those small businesses with between 10 and 19 employees. Small businesses in Tasmania (7%), and also the Education sector (4%), are far less likely to be hiring than other small businesses in other industries. 35

36 Preferred method of recruitment Friends, family and other employees remains the most common source of finding new employees Figure 15: Method of seeking employees (%) Recruitment Method Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Through family/friends/other employees in my company 58% 58% 54% 58% 57% By advertising in newspaper 25% 25% 29% 27% 26% Via professional association 24% 24% 21% 24% 25% By advertising on the Internet 19% 19% 18% 23% 21% Through recruitment agencies 14% 14% 16% 13% 15% Other 2% 2% 12% 11% 9% Base: Small businesses that have one or more employees (n=781) Q: How do you find your employees? (Multiple responses) AMR Interactive, December 2008 Of those small businesses with one or more employees, recruiting potential employees through family, friend and other employees (58%) remains the most common method for recruitment. 36

37 Employee types The most common type of employee in small business is full-time Table 2: Type of employees of small businesses (%) Type of employees Percentage of employees 0% 1%-33% 34%-66% 67%- Total 1%-100% 100% 99% Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Dec 08 Dec 08 Dec 08 Dec 08 Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 Full-time permanent 39% 56% 59% 59% 5% 10% 8% 36% 59% 41% 38% 39% Part-time permanent 78% 84% 85% 83% 9% 3% 1% 7% 20% 12% 12% 14% Contract 87% 90% 89% 89% 5% 1% 0% 5% 11% 8% 9% 7% Casual 80% 83% 83% 83% 8% 3% 0% 6% 17% 14% 15% 14% Other 79% 96% 96% 84% 0% 0% 0% 20% 20% 3% 3% 16% Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: What percentage of your employees are full-time permanent, part-time permanent, contract, casual? AMR Interactive, December 2008 As with previous quarters, the most common type of employee found in small business are full-time permanent. 37

38 Domain name registered Half (51%) of small business owners surveyed don t have a domain name registered Figure 16: Business having domain name registered (%) Dec 08 Sep 08 Yes 45% 45% 41% No 51% 51% 55% 4% 4% Unsure 4% Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Does your business have a domain name registered? AMR Interactive, December 2008 While 51% of small business owners surveyed do not currently have a business domain name registered, 45% do. 38

39 Business website 40% of small business owners surveyed have a wesbite Figure 17: Businesses with a website (%) Dec 08 Sep 08 Jun 08 Mar 08 No 59% 59% 65% 59% 60% Yes 40% 40% 35% 41% 40% Base: Small business owners (n=1385) Q: Does your business have a website? AMR Interactive, December 2008 More than half (59%) of small business owners surveyed do not currently have a business website, which is slightly lower than the results from the previous quarter. These results show an additional 5% of small business owners report having a website since the September 2008 survey results, taking the current 40% of small businesses with a website to almost mirror the results from June and March

40 Appendix 1 Perceptions of current and future business performance Figure 21: Small businesses confidence in business prospects and expectations for the economic performance over 12 months time % July 2007 (n=2352) November 2007 (n=1997) March 2008 (n=1436) June 2008 (n=1693) September 2008 (n=1462) December 2008 (n=1385) Proportion of small businesses that expect their business performance to be BETTER THAN NOW over the next 12 months (%) Proportion of small businesses that perceive their current business performance to be very or quite well (%) Base: Small business owners (n=1385) AMR Interactive, December

41 Appendix 2 Confidence in business & economy outlook Figure 22: Small businesses confidence in business prospects and expectations for the economic performance over 12 months time % July 2007 (n=2352) November 2007 (n=1997) March 2008 (n=1436) June 2008 (n=1693) September 2008 (n=1462) December 2008 (n=1385) Proportion of small businesses that expect the Australian economy to perform BETTER over the next 12 months (%) Proportion of small businesses that are extremely or fairly confident about their business prospects over the next 12 months (%) Base: Small business owners (n=1385) AMR Interactive, December

42 Appendix 3 Positive & negative outlook for specific business issues Figure 23: Proportion of small businesses with POSITIVE outlook for specific business issues over the next 12 months % July 2007 (n=2352) November 2007 (n=1997) March 2008 (n=1436) June 2008 (n=1693) September 2008 (n=1462) December 2008 (n=1385) Sales Marketing and customer relationships Profitability Cash flow Figure 23.1: Proportion of small businesses with NEGATIVE outlook for specific business issues over the next 12 months % July 2007 (n=2352) November 2007 (n=1997) March 2008 (n=1436) June 2008 (n=1693) September 2008 (n=1462) December 2008 (n=1385) Interest rates Business costs Federal Government policies Local Government policies Base: Small business owners (n=1385) AMR Interactive, December

43 Appendix 4 Perceptions of State Government performance Figure 24: Small businesses perceptions of the State Governments performance in contributing to the development of small business in Australia % July 2007 (n=2352) November 2007 (n=1997) March 2008 (n=1436) June 2008 (n=1693) September 2008 (n=1462) December 2008 (n=1385) Proportion of small businesses that perceive the STATE Government's performance to be POOR (%) Base: Small business owners (n=1385) AMR Interactive, December

44 Appendix 5 Survey questions S1. Are you the owner, general manager, or a key decision-maker of this Business? 1. Business owner 2. General Manager but not a business owner 3. Key decision maker 4. Other (specify) S2. Not including yourself, approximately how many full time employees does your company have in Australia? 1. No other employees apart from me (sole trader) 2. 1 full time employee 3. 2 full time employees 4. 3 full time employees 5. 4 full time employees full time employees full time employees full time employees full time employees 10. More than 100 employees Q: Thinking about the current performance of your own business, do you think your business is performing? 1. Very Well 2. Quite well 3. Not very well 4. Not at all well 9. Don't know/unsure Q: Thinking about the next twelve months, how confident do you feel about the prospects for your own business? 1. Extremely confidant 2. Fairly confidant 3. Neutral 4. Fairly worried 5. Extremely worried Q: Now thinking about the performance outlook for your own business over the next 12 months, do you think your business will perform Better than now 2. Worse than now 3. No change 9. Don't know/unsure Q: You mentioned that you expect your business (***) over the next 12 months, what are the factors underpinning your expectation? Please select all that apply Current tax levels Future proposed tax changes - going up Future proposed tax changes - going down Petrol prices too high Petrol prices forecast reduction Employment market favourable for employers Lack of available trained workers to draw on Increase in Government investment in my industry Decrease in Government investment in my industry Increase in competitive activity Decrease in competitive activity 44

45 Organic growth of my industry is increasing Decline in growth rate of my industry Consumer/end user trends changing favourably Consumer/end user trends changing unfavourably None of these Other (please specify) Q: Thinking more generally about the condition of the overall Australian economy over the next 12 months time, do you think it will perform. 1. Better than now 2. Worse than now 3. No change 9. Don't know/unsure Q: How would you rate the Federal Government's current performance in contributing to the development of small business in Australia? 1. Very poor performance 2. Somewhat poor performance 3. Neither good nor poor performance 4. Somewhat good performance 5. Very good performance 9. Don't know/unsure Q: How would you rate your State Government's current performance in contributing to the development of small business in your region? 1. Very poor performance 2. Somewhat poor performance 3. Neither good nor poor performance 4. Somewhat good performance 5. Very good performance 9. Don't know/unsure Q: Listed below are a number of issues that your business will deal with over the next 12 months. Thinking only about your own business, please indicate your outlook for each of these issues by using the following scale where 1. Very positive, 2. somewhat positive, 3. Neutral, 4. Somewhat negative, 5. Very negative, 6. Not applicable Sales Cash flow Business costs Profitability Competitor activity Federal Government policies Local Government policies Exchange rates Interest rates Business systems (IT, accounting) Marketing and customer relationships Q: Do you expect your business revenue to increase, decrease or remain unchanged in the next 12 months? 1. Increase 2. Decrease 3. Unchanged 9. Don't know/unsure If Q (1) ASK; Qa: How much do you expect your revenue to increase in the next 12 months? % % 45

46 % % 5. More than 20% If Q (2) ASK; Qb. how much do you expect your revenue to decrease in the next 12 months? % % % % 5. More than 20% Q: Within the next 6 months, do you expect to invest money in order to help your business grow? 1. Yes 2. No 9. Don't know/unsure If Q (1) ASK; Qa: And approximately how much money do you expect to invest in the next 6 months specifically to help grow your business? 1. Less than $5, ,000 - $9, ,000 - $50, More than $50, Don't Know / Unsure 98. Will invest nothing to grow the business Q: How do you usually find your employees? Please select all that apply 1. By advertising in newspapers 2. By advertising on the Internet 3. Through family/friends/other employees in my company 4. Via professional association 5. Through recruitment agency 6. Other (specify) If S2 (1) skip next Q Q: What percentage of your employees are *** Percentages must add up to 100%. Full-time permanent Part-time permanent Contract Casual Other (specify) Q: Does your business have a domain name registered? 1. Yes 2. No 9. Don't know/unsure Q: Does your business have a website? 1. Yes 2. No 9. Don't know/unsure D. What is the main product, service or activity that your business provides? (open-ended) D. What industry does your business operate in? 46

47 1. Agriculture 2. Manufacturing 3. Electricity, gas and water supply 4. Construction 5. Wholesale trade 6. Retail trade 7. Accommodation, cafe and restaurants 8. Transport and storage 9. Communication, media and marketing services 10. Finance and insurance 11. Property and business services 12. Government administration and defence 13. Education 14. Health and community services 15. Cultural and recreational services 16. Personal and other services 17. IT/Information & Communications Technology 18. Tourism 19. Other (specify) D. Which state is your company predominantly based in? 1. NSW 2. VIC 3. QLD 4. SA 5. WA 6. TAS 7. NT 8. ACT D. What is the postcode where your business is located? If you have more than one office please indicate the postcode where your business headquarters are based. (open-ended) D. Does your business operate out of a household/home office? 1. Yes 2. No D. Does your business conduct most of its day-to-day work at these premises, or away from these premises? 1. At premises 2. Away from premises D. How long has your business been operating? 1. Less than 1 year 2. 1 to less than 2 years 3. 2 to less than 3 years 4. 3 to less than 5 years 5. >5 to less than 10 years years or more D. Which of the following broad categories describes your company's annual turnover? 1. Under $50, , 000 to less than $100, ,000 to less than $500, ,000 to less than $1 million 5. $1 million to less than $5 million 6. 5 million to less than $10 million million or more 9. Don't know/unsure 47

48 D. Does your business sell products or services primarily to other businesses or consumers/customers? 1. Businesses 2. Consumers/ customers 3. Both 4. Other (specify) 9. Don't know/unsure D. What percentage of your overall business expenses does each of the following areas account for (your best estimate is fine)? Percentages must add up to 100%. Rent and property costs Salary/wages Software and hardware Plant equipment, furniture, materials and inventory costs Marketing, advertising and sales Energy use - electricity, gas, water, oil/petrol Research & Development costs Administrative costs - human resource management, accounting, finance Other (specify) D. Approximately how much do you spend on your accountant per annum? 1. Less than $500 per annum 2. Between $500 and $999 per annum 3. Between $1000 and $1999 per annum 4. Between $2,000 and $2,999 per annum 5. Between $3,000 and $3,999 per annum 6. Between $4,000 and $4,999 per annum 7. Between $5,000 and $5,999 per annum 8. Between $6,000 and $6,999 per annum 9. Between $7,000 and $7,999 per annum 10. Between $8,000 and $9,999 per annum 11. More than $10,000 per annum D. What is your gender? 1. Male 2. Female D. Which of the following categories best describes your age? 1. Under 18 years years years years years years years 8. Over 65 years 9. I don't wish to answer this question D. Which of the following best describes your current marital status? 1. Not married 2. Divorced/Separated 3. Married 4. Living with partner (de facto spouse relationship) 5. Other (specify) 6. I do not wish to answer this question D. What is your partner's/ spouse's occupation? (open-ended) Please enter your response into the box below. D. Which of these best describes your household... 48