A new report from social commentator Bernard Salt called Rebuilding Australia: The role of small business found that one in 10 small businesses has prospered through the lockdown. It found that 25 per cent of small businesses that thrived during the pandemic reported to have adapted their operations, while 39 per cent have found new customer markets.
Flexible working hours (30 per cent) and remote working arrangements (28 per cent) have also been common threads allowing businesses to prosper.
Another common theme among businesses that report prospering is investment in technology, with 35 per cent expecting to increase their investment in tech even further in the next three months.
Of those looking to invest in the coming months, sales and marketing platforms will be the primary investment focus, followed by product/service innovation and project management.
“Small businesses that have prospered during the pandemic may well have been in the right industry at the right time, but according to the survey, the best of the best adapted, found new markets and invested in technology,” Mr Salt said.
The report also found that nearly half (48 per cent) of surveyed small-business owners are optimistic about their prospects in the second half of this year, and that one in four (23 per cent) expects revenue to jump up by more than 10 per cent by December.
“Here we are in the middle of both a pandemic and the worst recession in three generations,” Mr Salt said.
“The fact that half of all small businesses remain optimistic about their prospects in the second half of the year says something about the sheer determination and inherent optimism of the small-business community in Australia.”
Meanwhile, remote working is set to be the new norm with the emergence of “self-contained” suburban regional centres.
In the three months to 20 May 2020, the report found regional towns experienced significant jobs growth and are emerging as potential hotspots for small business, with Toowoomba, Illawarra (Wollongong) and Geelong leading the pack.
During the same period, 32,000 jobs were added to the utility sector and a further 32,000 were added to the construction industry, followed by a 24,000 boost in jobs in the agriculture sector across the country.