Small business has high expectations for 2014

The Small Business Development Corporation’s Business Expectations Survey for 2014 reveals positive expectations for the year ahead, with business confidence levels at a four-year high.

SBDC Chief Executive Officer and Small Business Commissioner, Mr David Eaton, says this year’s results throw a spotlight on the issues affecting small business owners today.

“The key areas of concern for small business this year are attracting new customers, increasing operating costs and keeping a handle on the cost of wages,” Mr Eaton said.

“In addition, businesses have indicated an intention, over the next twelve months, to investigate new markets, update existing equipment or technology, and employ more staff.”

In summary, the 2014 results reveal:

  • A 10% increase in positive expectations for the economy since 2013.
  • 75% of respondents expect the sales or revenue of their business to increase during 2014 (highest result in 4 years).
  • 48% of respondents expect the cost of materials to be the same or to decrease (up from 11% in 2013).
  • 58% of respondents (up from 43% in 2013) expect profitability to increase. (This is the largest positive response since 2011.)
  • 10% drop (from 54% to 44%) in the number of businesses expecting labour costs to increase. This may indicate the heat is going out of the labour market.
  • A higher level of confidence amongst small business respondents in regard to their ability to retain staff over the next 12 months. (At 18%, this is the highest level since 2011.)

Mr Eaton says while these results are encouraging, anecdotal evidence indicates the retail industry in general will continue to be tested over the coming twelve months, with high rent and wage costs, import duties and online competition proving to be particularly challenging for bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Further information, please contact: Di Graham SBDC 6552 3218 / 0432 750 565