Aussie SMEs bullish about business growth

Findings from RSM Bird Cameron’s recently released thinkBIG 2013 study have found that Aussie SME business owners are generally bullish about business growth over the coming 12 months.

Findings from RSM Bird Cameron’s recently released thinkBIG 2013 study have found that Aussie SME business owners are generally bullish about business growth over the coming 12 months.

The thinkBIG 2013 study benchmarks business confidence and the attitudes of business owners towards planning, growth and profitability, exit planning and superannuation. 308 business owners participated in the 2013 study, providing insights into how Australian SMEs feel about their business. 

42 per cent of respondents report revenue growth over the past 12 months, while 33 per cent report no change and 25 per cent report a decline. Despite a difficult year, 64 per cent of SMEs are optimistic and believe their business will grow in the next 12 months. SME owners in regional centres are most optimistic about growth (69 per cent), followed by those in capital cities (65 per cent) and then rural areas (57.5 per cent).

“It is not surprising that more than half of businesses reported a flat or reduced turnover,” RSM Bird Cameron’s Andrew Graham says. “Many industries are still experiencing difficult times. The retail sector faces challenges such as the battle for online sales, decreased consumer confidence and unemployment. Resources, mining and manufacturing encountered challenges caused by exchange rates and the high cost of doing business in Australia.”

Not surprisingly, the thinkBIG 2013 results pinpoint business planning as a critical ingredient to running a successful business, with 68 per cent of SME owners noting business planning as a priority. 42 per cent of SME owners prepare a business plan annually; 9 per cent prepare one every two years and 6 per cent every three years. Alarmingly, 32 per cent of businesses still don’t undertake any form of business planning.

“The majority of owners understand the value in completing a business plan,” Graham says. “Many industries face increased scrutiny from government and financial institutions. Banks require a much higher quality of management reporting and strategic planning to support funding applications and reviews. A solid business plan is critical in meeting financing requirements. All business owners should consider completing regular business plans that are updated as market and economic conditions to ensure they have the right strategies in place for success.”

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