ABS to release landmark small business study

ABSThe Australian Bureau of Statistics will soon release new data that reveals how an anonymous panel of small businesses fared during the GFC.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will soon release the latest data from its landmark study of small business, the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD).

Participants in the BLD are real businesses, but their input to the database are anonymous. Participants are asked to contribute every three years.

Think of the BLD as the business equivalent of the "Seven Up" documentary series or Gillian Armstrong's series including Fourteen's Good, Eighteen's Better.

The BLD is important because it collects a wide range of data from small and medium businesses and allows its users to analyse the change in their performance over time. The first BLD data covered 2004-2005 and in late December the ABS will release data covering 2008-2010 for the first time, allowing analysis of business performance during the GFC and beyond.

The BLD is very granular and asks participating businesses to submit data on:

  • General Business characteristics - Industry division, Business size (based on employment), number of locations, whether a business is home-based, and length of operation.
  • Employment - Total; full/part time; casuals; pay setting arrangements
  • Basic financial indicators - value of sales and capital/non-capital purchases
  • Innovation indicators - type and status of innovative activity
  • Information Technology indicators - use of Internet, web presence, Internet commerce
  • Market and Competition: geographic markets, sources of income, customer relations, number of competitors and market share.
  • Business financing - type, status and reasons for finance
  • Barriers to business performance

My Business will analyse the results of the new BLD release in a future newsletter and/or issue of the magazine.

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