THE mood of a significant section of local businesses is upbeat according to the Millicent Business Community Association (MBCA).
The association recently held its inaugural business confidence survey with 43pc of participants indicating business conditions had improved since last year.
The survey showed 8.7pc of respondents felt confidence had declined while the remaining 47.8pc indicated confidence was about the same.
Association chairperson Lee Morgan said while the level of participation in the survey was just under half of its membership, the amount of positivity gave insight into how Millicent business operators felt about the local economy.
Mr Morgan said feedback from business owners indicated the positive outlook could continue to grow if community pride remained a focus.
He urged local people and organizations to “give local businesses a go” rather than travelling to Mount Gambier, Adelaide or beyond to purchase goods and services.
“We have certainly heard of instances where local groups have sought local sponsorship and then purchase goods and services out of the district and yet such goods and services are available in Millicent,” Mr Morgan said.
“The business community is saying that businesses in Millicent should be promoted further but must remain regionally competitive.
“By striving for a high standard of personalised service and with that important community connection, Millicent businesses should at least be given the first opportunity for business by local people – knowing it is the prerogative of the community to shop or do business where it likes.”
According to Mr Morgan, business feedback included additional ideas to boost commercial activity.
He said the survey respondents wanted to get businesses to think outside the square, be innovative and value add to products.
“The survey wants us to continue the successful MBCA Awards, there should be more focus on good customer service and the training of school leavers.
“The MBCA should continue and enhance business networking and training opportunities and have a greater focus on businesses in the industrial area of Millicent.
“The business survey indicated the average time in business was 12 years and this shows businesses are here for the long haul and are reliable.
“Indeed, one business in the survey has been around for 48 years.”
Mr Morgan said over 90pc of survey respondents indicated they will attend the MBCA Lights Up event this year.
“This is fantastic as it is great lead-up to the festive season and celebrates the time of the year when important purchases are made before Christmas and the new year.
“The MBCA was happy with the participation for this year’s survey and hope that more businesses participate in the five-minute survey next year so that we can annually gauge confidence of our business community.
“We can only manage what has been measured and certainly there are some good ideas- but most we must remember to give local business a go.”