SMEs under stress

Thirty-nine per cent of small-business owners indicated an intention to sell their business in the future, with 67 per cent of small family-business owners saying they will most likely sell their business to individuals or businesses outside of the family, according to the ‘Economy of Shopping Small Report’.

Reasons for these intentions include concerns around financial stability (73 per cent), increasing costs (82 per cent), attracting new customers (79 per cent) and retaining existing ones (78 per cent).

The report, commissioned by American Express, captures the sentiments of more than 700 business owners and 1,000 consumers across Australia.

It reveals most small-business owners surveyed want their business to stay ‘small’ (56 per cent), yet the top three future priorities lie in the need to push their brand and business further through greater marketing and brand awareness activities (62 per cent).

The report also highlights the important role small businesses provide to the community. The majority of consumers surveyed agree that small businesses provide positive emotional value.

Australians who prefer unique, customised or personalised products and services are 18 per cent more likely to preference ‘shopping small’ (54 per cent vs. 46 per cent). Those who prefer businesses that support the local community are 15 per cent more likely to preference shopping small (53 per cent vs. 46 per cent).

Even with a 10 per cent increase in prices, 42 per cent of Australians would continue to support small family-run businesses, whereas only 26 per cent would continue to support solely online businesses.

The findings were released as part of Shop Small, a nationwide movement that brings together support from the business community, governments and consumers to support small businesses.

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