A MOUNT Gambier business leader has called for regional shoppers to spend their money in local stores following new figures showing up to 77pc of small business in regional Australia are “doing it tough”.
With the festive season rapidly approaching, Mount Gambier Chamber of Commerce president Hayley Neumann said the small business sector was the cornerstone of the city’s economy.
Given the sector generated significant employment, Ms Neumann urged people to support regionally-based retailers and businesses.
“Small business is so important for our local economy – it makes the economy go round,” Ms Neumann said.
In particular, she said the festive trade was a critical income stream for many businesses.
“This time of the year keeps a lot of small businesses going,” the chamber leader said.
She said it was also important to note many businesses were also under “pressure” this time of year.
“We need to be mindful of that,” Ms Neumann said.
She said the festive season also generated additional employment during the festive season with more younger people employed on a casual basis.
According to a new small business report, 83pc of small business owners stated they were satisfied with life as a small business owner despite facing challenges.
The launch of the report coincides with the launch of Shop Small month, a national movement to shine the spotlight on the importance of small businesses and encourage Australians to support them.
To help grow their business, the report reveals regional businesses have been investing in marketing as the most popular growth strategy (29pc), followed by launching or becoming more active on social media (15pc).
A third of regional small business owners have ideas, plans and visions they are yet to implement, despite believing these would grow their business.
November marks Shop Small month, a national movement founded by American Express, to highlight the importance of small businesses in our communities and encourage more Australians to back them.
Small businesses are also experiencing broader economic pressure with the report revealing Australia’s economic climate was the biggest concern for half of small business owners, up from 43pc in 2018.
Keeping up with technological change is the fastest growing concern while attracting new customers was also up slightly to 44pc from 40pc.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said small businesses made a significant contribution to our economy and people’s lives, with 12.7m Australians involved with a small business in some way.
“It is concerning that small business operators feel there are substantial barriers that hinder their growth plans, ultimately costing the Australian economy billions a year,” Ms Carnell said.
Equally, one third of small business owners fear insolvency in the next three to five years.
“This clearly shows that we need to be doing more to make small business operators feel adequately supported to alleviate barriers and concerns,” Ms Carnell said.