Meanwhile, concerns around attracting new customers and cash flow is growing.
In MYOB's biannual national survey of over 1000 small business owners, it showed the smaller end of town being extremely resilient in the face of economic challenges in recent years. Most of them had a positive outlook on their business at the end of 2016.
The survey also indicated that what small business owners saw as major hurdles for their companies have shifted. Previously small businesses often jostled with difficulties related to implementing and upgrading IT solutions to help their operations. According to the survey, attitudes towards technology from small business owners have incrementally improved:
- 16% saw online technologies as a pain point, down from 19% in 2015
- 15% saw upgrading hardware and other equipment as a pain point, down from 16% in 2015
- 13% saw upgrading IT software, systems or processes as a pain point, down from 14% in 2015
The changes may not be dramatic, but it's indicative of a downward trend of viewing technology as a hindrance for the past seven years.
“It’s great to see that small business owners are seeing technology as a benefit rather than a pain-point, even if it’s a slow transition," MYOB CEO Tim Reed said. “Traditionally, small businesses have been slower with technology uptake, so we’re pleased to see that more accessible, simple and cost-effective technology is changing the attitude around technology adoption."
Meanwhile 27% of respondents are worried about attracting new customers, highlighting the pressure on owners to be growing their business.
Over a 26% identified cash flow as a pain point, and 26% of small business owners said that late payments from customers were putting them under undue pressure, up from 19% from the last quarter. The report found that these issues are having the biggest impact on franchisors and construction and trades businesses.
The Government is looking to crack down on late payments to small businesses, which has been identified as a "silent killer" for the smaller end of town.