Support for small business more critical than ever
THE shopping public has been called on for help as small business conditions get tougher.
Three-quarters of small business owners in Australia say it's getting harder to run a small business, with two in five admitting they're not sure they'll be around in five years' time.
This is according to the Australian Attitudes to Small Business Report commissioned by American Express as part of its national Shop Small campaign, which aims to reconnect consumers with small businesses.
The Sunshine Coast Daily is also right in the middle of its own shop-local campaign: Town Proud.
The American Express Report findings show small business owners are implementing a raft of new strategies to ensure they remain competitive - testament to their resilience and tenacity. These include:
• 41% - investing in an online or social presence
• 29% - price discounting
• 26% - increasing marketing and advertising
• 26% - negotiating better deals with suppliers
• 26% - increasing the range of products sold
• 23% - forming alliances with other businesses
• 19% - investing in new technology
• 15% - considering longer opening hours
Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson called on all Australians to unite to support small businesses. He made his appeal against a backdrop of empty storefronts in Bridge Rd, once a booming small business district in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.
"Bridge Rd was at its best when a diverse array of energetic small businesses competed with each other, delighting consumers and enticing them with variety, quality produce and great service" Mr Billson said.
"For consumers who value a broad range of options and the unique characteristics of a local shopping strip, it is important for them to support thriving and cherished high streets to ensure they don't become a thing of the past. It is of our responsibility to ensure that doesn't happen."
American Express Vice President of Small Business Services Martin Seward said: "Small businesses are increasingly competing in a proliferated and cluttered market. But despite all of their challenges, time and time again they demonstrate a commitment to adapting while still maintaining an absolute commitment to customer service - a key focus for half of the small business owners surveyed."
"The research also shows that small business owners have a true passion for what they do regardless of the challenges they face. In fact, 56 per cent would recommend small business ownership to family and friends."
To participate in the Daily's Town Proud initiative and in Shop Small, simply shop at your local business in November.
The Daily campaign also offers the chance to win $10,000 by shopping in a Sunshine Coast or Caboolture/Bribie business. Make sure you get a receipt so you can enter online here There is no minimum spend.
You can also pledge your support here at www.shopsmallaustralia.com.