According to the Australian SME Business Sentiment Index, which is compiled quarterly by Momentum Intelligence, they saw a dip in the number of business owners forecasting a rise in their personal income in the first half of 2017.
The proportion expecting an increase fell from 55.2 per cent to 46.3 per cent.
However, this doesn’t mean business owners are expecting their personal income to fall. The index suggests business owners are over four times as likely to expect a surge in earnings as a cut.
The remaining 43.5 per cent of respondents believe their earnings will remain fairly stable.
“At the end of the day, it's a really, really important measure of how the environment is for business owners,” says Andy Scott, head of research at Momentum Intelligence.
“You'll get some business owners who just love to have a go. They're serial entrepreneurs. Really, they're not in it for the money. They're in it for giving it a go, and they love giving it a go, and that's fantastic.
“But let's be honest, most business owners are in the game to make more money than they believe they can get as an employee. That's why they're in the game. For those guys and ladies to be able to go and say, ‘Yes, this is working for me. It's successful’, that's a good thing.”
Andy says that with the vast majority of business owners (89.8 per cent) expecting their take-home pay to either increase or stay the same, it gives confidence to the overall economy as well as to employees and job seekers.
“The growth of small businesses means that in a shifting and changing economy, new businesses have to come online all the time. To have those role models of people who are successful and upbeat, and will be sitting there around the barbie, saying ‘Yeah, mate, it's getting better than ever for me. Yeah, I'm really upbeat about it’, I think that's someone we can all be really excited about.”